The Vorys Initiative for Business Empowerment was recently featured in a Columbus Business First story titled “How Vorys' New Program for Minority-Owned Businesses Helped This Entrepreneur 'Sleep Better at Night.'” The story highlighted that the program, which provides legal support for minority-owned businesses, was developed in 2020 following the wave of protests against racial injustice.
The story states:
“Janay Stevens, the senior associate at Vorys who came up with the idea, said the firm wanted to do something substantial.
‘As folks are putting out statements in response to the events of this summer, there was a moment in which the narrative changed to say, ‘What are you doing?’’ she said. ‘This grew out of that. It’s a physical and tangible commitment to doing the work that needs to be done.’
Stevens said she kept hearing over the summer, “That for minority-owned businesses, there are certain resources that are not as apparent as they otherwise would be or not as readily available.’
‘One of those that was repeatedly mentioned by different stakeholders in the community was legal services,’ she said. “All of the stars aligned at the right time. This seems like a problem that at least in part can be solved if we just put in the time.’
Since then, some 45 lawyers have helped about 40 businesses with their legal needs. ‘We have helped folks in different points of their life cycle,’ Stevens said.”
The story also featured feedback from VIBE program participants, including Sandra Moody, who founded Dehan Enterprises insurance and financial services agency.
The story states:
“Moody said she worked with a lawyer to help set up the business 20 years ago, knew she needed legal help again to update her employee manual, job descriptions and contractor agreements.
‘We were able to provide what we had, and they enhanced it,’ she said. ‘I was very, very impressed with the work and how they engaged with me once we made that connection.’
Moody said many small business owners might not have the funds to ‘afford the high-class, sophisticated services that the needs warrant.’
‘They treat you like any other client of theirs,’ she said of Vorys. ‘I think it reflects their true desire to support the African American business community.’”
To read the entire story, click here. Note: Subscription may be required.
About the Vorys Initiative for Business Empowerment: Through this program Vorys provides legal support for minority-owned businesses. Our goal is to help create a strong legal foundation that allows our clients to navigate the challenges associated with business ownership. By providing legal services at no or low cost, and delivering valuable educational content and training, we facilitate the development of minority-owned businesses from inception to maturity and through succession. To learn more about the program, click here.