There are so many people who have ideas, but they don’t have the funding to execute them.
Monica Boyd, owner, Compass Pharmacy
Access to capital: It’s often the biggest hurdle small-business owners face in launching their companies.
For other entrepreneurs like Boyd who invest their own capital in launching their companies, being aware of available resources represents a second challenge.
The Regions Foundation is working with PeopleFund to tackle both issues head-on.
How it Works:
The foundation is a nonprofit funded primarily by Regions Bank. Grant funding from the foundation benefits organizations like Texas-based PeopleFund. PeopleFund is what’s called a “CDFI” – a Community Development Financial Institution – that helps under-resourced business owners turn their dreams into a profitable, sustainable reality.
Among PeopleFund’s results:
- Providing $200 million in financial assistance to 4,600-plus small businesses
- Offering $150 million in new market tax credit allocations, attracting $750 million in investments and pumping nearly $1 billion back into the Texas economy
- Helping create and retain 20,000 jobs
- Delivering 150,000-plus hours of free business education
The Regions Foundation’s long-term work with PeopleFund includes supporting the CDFI’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Small Business Accelerator. From bakers to candlemakers and more, PeopleFund’s BIPOC Accelerator has graduated nearly 80 entrepreneurs in just over a year’s time.
The People Behind the Story:
“I was searching for grant and loan opportunities for new businesses online,” said Monica Boyd, the Fort Worth owner of Compass Pharmacy who found PeopleFund’s Accelerator. “This was the first major funding opportunity I received as a new business owner.”
Like PeopleFund, Boyd knew she, too, wanted to help underserved people when she launched her company in 2020.
“I envisioned it being a place where patients could come to receive medication or consultations without the financial stress of health care,” she said. “There are numerous lifesaving medications that hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars, even with prescription insurance. The mission of Compass Pharmacy is to offer our patients quality, affordable health care while also providing an excellent customer service experience.”
Boyd’s journey to open the independent pharmacy began after practicing with a large retail chain. She gained valuable experience, but the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy graduate wanted to do something more.
“My ‘why’ is two-fold,” Boyd said. “As a mom of two small kids, working 12-hour shifts was no longer conducive to my growing family dynamic,” she explained. “I also envisioned creating a pharmacy business model where I could make a positive impact on the community while creating that healthy work-life balance for myself.”
The Advocates for Entrepreneurs:
That’s exactly what she’s doing thanks to PeopleFund’s support. And it’s more than financial support, as Boyd realized when she met Anthony Lopez, a small-business specialist with the CDFI.
“Through his business coaching, Anthony really challenged me to think about how I can expand my business and make it better,” Boyd said. “He opened my eyes to what it could really be.”
“We work with a number of partners that have programs that may be of benefit to our clients,” Lopez added. “Once we receive word about them, we share this information with our clients so they may take advantage of the available resources.”
The information-sharing doesn’t stop.
“Anthony continues to follow up, and he doesn’t have to do that,” Boyd said. “A person like that, you just know he’s doing it from the bottom of his heart.”
Lopez’s guidance helped Boyd qualify for a commercial loan after initially funding Compass Pharmacy out of her own pocket. She’s now leasing medical plaza space with consultation and occupational therapy rooms featuring a boutique-style setting. Boyd expanded Compass’ services to administer antibody treatments, and she’s hired three nurses.
Anthony really challenged me to think about how I can expand my business and make it better. He opened my eyes to what it could really be.
Monica Boyd, owner, Compass Pharmacy
The Lasting Impact of More Inclusive Prosperity:
Boyd is also helping grow the next generation of pharmacists by working with students from a nearby pharmacy school.
“It’s so important for the younger generation to see that there are women business owners and women of color in this field,” she said. “My high school mentees have said, ‘I’ve never seen a woman pharmacist of color who owns her own business.’ Representation matters, and programs like PeopleFund’s Accelerator are key to the expansion and sustainability of BIPOC-owned businesses.”
About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.