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Truist Charitable Fund Awards IC² for Small Business Training Program

Recognizing the need to address the plight of small businesses struggling to survive the current economic crisis, the IC² Institute applied to the Truist Charitable Fund for support.  The Fund announced this summer that it would provide grants to organizations who could assist those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The institute’s proposal to take its successful FASTForward Mainstreet Business Incubator to west Texas communities was accepted, and a gift of $250,000 from the Fund will enable the creation of innovative online materials and platforms and delivery to at least 60 entrepreneurs next summer.

“During this unprecedented time, Truist’s purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities is more relevant than ever,” said Andrea Nicole Royster, Director of Grants Management for the Truist Fund (formerly BB&T).  “We applaud your efforts to address the needs in your community during this critical time and hope this grant will help provide comfort and relief.”

Greg Pogue, Deputy Executive Director of IC² and lead instructor for FASTForward, explained that the program will be scaled for remote delivery through asynchronous content and synchronous peer-to-peer learning sessions.

“The FASTForward program is an intervention with a track record of success that includes an interactive training program to help business owners gain insight into disruptive business opportunities, a proven methodology to create a market-fitted business strategies, and a peer and community business mentor network,” said Pogue.  “It offers small business owners a proven strategy to growth their business revenues while developing a strategic vision for the future.”

This summer, IC² conducted extensive survey work to discover and analyze how Texas communities and entrepreneurs are coping during the pandemic.  Findings about needs will inform the adaptation of FASTForward curricula to be impactful for west Texas businesses this coming year.

For more information on the Truist Charitable Fund’s mission and programs, please visit: www.truist.com/truist-foundation

The IC2 Institute was established at The University of Texas at Austin in 1977, as a think-and-do tank to explore the broad economic, technological, and human factors that drive economic development in regions. Our mission is to better understand and catalyze communities outside major urban corridors to become more collaborative and resilient through a human-centered approach.