WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Faced with the prospect of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing them and others to lose out on a valuable education opportunity, one Wilmington-based small cleaning company decided it was time to take care of business, literally.
Husband and wife team, Jhalil and Shinera Adams started their cleaning and utility service in 2015 in Philadelphia. Since then, the couple has grown their business from just one client to servicing customers across the mid-Atlantic region. Their business is called His and Hers Cleaning & Utility LLC.
“We are a cleaning company. However, we also offer comprehensive cleaning solutions, while also giving a wide range of utility services. So not only do we clean, but we fix things, we paint, we mount TVs, we can build, we can do all types of home improvement. You name it, we can do it,” Ms. Adams said.
“We focus on multi service. Because one-trick ponies, they get left behind,” Mr. Adams said.
Now in Wilmington, the husband-and-wife team wanted to grow their business. While researching ways to expand their venture, the Adamses found the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce’s EnrichDelaware! program.
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The initiative provides small-business owners with the knowledge, know-how and networks needed for business growth and expansion. The DEBCC partnered with national not-for-profit organization Interise to offer EnrichDelaware!. The educational program is based on Interise’s StreetWise MBA curriculum.
Participants join a group of Delaware-based business owners for interactive class sessions; peer mentoring groups; and the opportunity to learn from local experts in the fields of finance, marketing and procurement. Participants complete the program with a customized, three-year strategic growth plan — plus the ability to turn those plans into action.
“We are a key spoke in the hub-spoke model that is directly linked to the (Small Business Development Center/Small Business Association) Community Navigation Program. It is a business-growth program that focuses on bettering and strengthening the Black and Latino small business market,” said Ayanna Khan, founder and CEO of the DEBCC.
The program started last fall with the current cohort expected to graduate in April.
The Adamses are part of a class of about 15 business owners seeking to enrich their business knowledge.
Brenné Shepperson, a member of the DEBCC board of directors, facilitates the EnrichDelaware! program.
“I’m trying to bring out the best in what they already know about their company and then adding it with some of newer information maybe they haven’t been exposed to,” Ms. Shepperson said.
Kim Rice, a member of the DEBCC board of directors, said the program helps participants build a stronger network of business leaders.
“There’s coursework also that they go through, and experts come in, as far as accountants and such, who will go over things as far as their nature, their financials and making sure they’re squared away in those areas too. They’re kind of tested with the coursework because they must apply it to their own use with their own numbers to do that. And that’s where the interaction starts to occur when they have questions, and it goes around the room. Some people have more experience than others etc.,” Mr. Rice said.
The Adamses have enjoyed their experience with EnrichDelaware!.
“I feel like we’ve benefited from a lot of things. The course is teaching us to take ourselves out of the everyday of our business and to step back and to formulate our business in ways that we didn’t think about, even though we’ve been in business and functioning since 2015. There was a lot of things that we did not do. We just really jumped into it,” Ms. Adams said.
The program consists of 13 sessions. They meet every other Tuesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. in downtown Smyrna.
After the new year began and COVID-19 cases started to surge, EnrichDelaware! leaders were faced with a tough decision, to pause their classes or find a different path.
When the Adamses learned that the pandemic may impact their class, they knew they wanted to help.
“We use electrostatic sprayers … it keeps everything disinfected. Plus, we also wipe down everything before as well. So once we do the electrostatic fogging, we do a double disinfect and then everything is fine,” Mrs. Adams said.
His & Hers Cleaning has volunteered their time and services to disinfect the EnrichDelaware! meeting space so the program can continue to meet in person.
Ms. Shepperson said she is grateful for His & Hers Cleaning effort to keep their class meeting.
For more information about the EnrichDelaware! Program and the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce visit debcc.org.
To connect with His and Hers Cleaning & Utility LLC, visit hisherscu.com.
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