Circle of Creation provides insight for women business owners

Business funding featured during inaugural event at the link


The link in Nocatee continued to do its part in hosting events to help local business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the shifting landscapes.

The latest event they held was the inaugural session of Circle of Creation: The Expansion Project on April 10.

It focused on the importance of business funding for local women entrepreneurs and featured several speakers, including the night’s guest of honor, Rep. Cyndi Stevenson.

Sonya Morales-Marchisillo, founder of Pinnacle Communications Group, shared the story with those in attendance of when she was first trying to find funding and support for her business and the challenges she ran into.

“I thought going to get contracts and money from the banks was going to be the easy part, but I was completely wrong,” Morales-Marchisillo said. “My mortgage bank didn’t want anything to do with me and my car loan bank didn’t want anything to do with me. I was not looked at as anyone who had built something.”

Because of this experience, Morales-Marchisillo stressed to the crowd in the main lobby of the link about the importance of finding financial institutions that do not look at the fact that they are women, but instead looks at the entire picture and business profile in question.

According to Tillery Durbin, commercial lender at Vystar Credit Union, the complexities of business funding can go beyond the numbers on the screen, and while they are extremely important, so is building relationships.

This is what makes finding funding so treacherous at times, but knowing how to approach it can also be a helpful tool.

“We are not all cut and dry when it comes to business lending like it is on the consumer side,” Durbin said. “When you go to get a car or a house, they’ll pull your personal credit and if you have great credit, then you’ll get whatever you want. Every bank has different rules, but there is always someone out there that can help you and it’s important to remember that.”

Also, taking “no” for an answer is not the end but instead, Durbin hinted that it can be the beginning of creating an even better business plan.

“You should be asking them ‘do you pull my credit?’ and ‘what does my credit need to be?’ Durbin said. “If your credit is not there than you know that’s not the place for you or you need to fix your credit before they pull it. These are questions you have to ask prior to signing up.”

Morales-Marchisillo is an example of how hearing a financial institution tell her ‘no’ was not the end of the road but just a curve in the path where she wanted her business to be.

“I support all banks, even the ones that told me know because I know that they are supporting some of my colleagues and friends,” Morales-Marchisillo said. “You never want to close the door fully because you may need them, or they may need you down the road.”

Not only did the event have its share of speakers to listen to and offer feedback, but it also served as a networking platform for the business owners in attendance.