‘Belle Collective’ star Lateshia Pearson serves up financial literacy for black women entrepreneurs at brunches

Lashia Pearson of OWN network BelleCollective is an entrepreneur and certified life coach who is building an empire with sisterhood in mind.

A Pelahatchie Belle At heart, Pearson unites black women in her home state of Mississippi to address the need that most black entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners don’t have access to: support.

It all started with the Women’s Brunch Mississippi in 2017, providing a space for women to showcase their products and services and a professional network to equip them with financial literacy and business credit information from bankers, credit repair specialists, loan originators, grant writers, business accountants, and more. Despite COVID-19-induced closures, Pearson’s brunches continue to thrive.

“When they leave a women’s brunch, they’ll have everything they need to be successful,” Pearson said. BLACK CORPORATE.

With her National Women’s Brunch Association Inc., the empowering founder and CEO has also created a platform for “entrepreneurial training and workshops designed to build self-esteem, improve knowledge relating to financial management and planning , and educate and equip entrepreneurs for success,” according to a statement obtained by BLACK CORPORATE.

(Image: Lateshia Pearson with women at Mississippi Brunch / Courtesy of Meshia Barnes)

As a Sisterhood Champion, Pearson has conducted one-on-one empowerment sessions that, in her own words, have allowed her to “empower women around the world and do what I love to do – inspire, empower hope and help aspiring entrepreneurs find their place in the world.

Pearson reflected on his journey with BLACK CORPORATE and also dropped some advice on business credit and loans.

(Image: Courtesy of Keyon Blanden of K. Blanden Photography)

(Image: Courtesy of Keyon Blanden of K. Blanden Photography)

How did growing up in Pelahatchie, Mississippi inspire you to become an entrepreneur?

The influence was that there was no influence. It’s a community of maybe 1,200 right now. What made me want to do better was seeing women working in factories and factories.

Growing up in a small community like that, I realized I wanted more and wanted to break generational curses. There was a factory outside my bedroom window, and I saw family and people going in and out of that factory through that window, and I knew I wanted more from my life.

When and where did your financial literacy journey begin?

I created an event called “Boss Bank”, where I invited loan originators. After having the accountability brunch in 2017 and 2018 – women started asking about how they could get funding, if we had grant writers in organizations, etc.

We received emails asking them how they could get business credit and receive loans and grants to start and grow their business.

What do you witness firsthand the needs and challenges of Black women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners?

Back small business owners needs and challenges are that they need more support. They need encouragement to move forward; they need that extra boost because running a small business is tough. There is also a need for marketing, advertising and funding to scale and grow small businesses.

As a reality TV star, how have you leveraged your TV footprint to grow your business?

Television has exposed me to more opportunities. I’ve been able to coach more women around the world, my business has grown tremendously and I’ve created one-on-one empowerment sessions – we talk about everything from business to personal issues women face in business and in life. Being on television has exposed me to opportunities that I never could have experienced coming from small town Mississippi.

What is the best advice you’ve given to black women entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners about building credit?

Apply to DUN, Dunn and Bradstreet, one of the three major business credit bureaus. Open a business credit card and establish trade lines with your suppliers.

Thanks to our brunch partners, many different finance professionals are there, in person, to discuss different ways and options to help them establish credit. I provide the platform and the space for the connections to be made, and the credit experts help them.

What’s the best advice you’ve given on how to qualify for a business loan?

Have a business plan and a loan proposal. Maintain good personal credit and excellent business credit. Also be aware that most banks take into account your annual income and years in business, among other relevant factors.

Many women were afraid to go to the bank and talk to originators because they were told that black people were not eligible for loans. So, one of the biggest hurdles is in-person, face-to-face contact with financial advisors who want to meet with them.

Geraldine L. Melton