Women’s Business Center in Memphis aims to help businesses impacted by pandemic
By: Camille Connor
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – BJ Chester-Tamayo has been the owner of Alcenia’s on North Main for over 20 years. The restaurant was named after her mother and was created in honor of her son.
“When I lost him in a motorcycle accident, I knew I had to change what I was doing,” she said.
After many years of hard work, it was in December 2020 – during a global pandemic – when she was able to finally purchase the building where she operates her restaurant.
Throughout the process of buying the building she worked with the Executive Director of the Women’s Business Center South.
“She was very instrumental in helping Alcenia’s through mentoring me, through making sure I had my financials in order,” she said.
Venesha Mitchell recently opened a WBC South office at Crosstown Concourse. She is looking to help women business owners navigate what can sometimes be a challenging landscape.
“There’s still some disparity as far as opportunity to get capital,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell’s goal right now is to help women-owned businesses impacted by the pandemic, like the work she has done for Alcenia’s.
“So, that could look like technical support, where someone is coming in needing help developing a business plan, or putting together financial projections,” said Mitchell.
WBC South’s office also offers assistance with certification, as well as counseling regarding marketing and contracting.
Chester-Tamayo is currently remodeling Alcenia’s a preparing for a reopening at the end of the summer. She says she is grateful for Mitchell’s services and plans to use her success to help others.
“You’ve got to be there, you’ve got to do what it takes,” said Chester-Tamayo. “Then when you get there, you can’t forget other people.”