Starting a small business in the midst of a pandemic may not appear to be the best idea, but with the right attitude and a solid plan, you might just be able to pull it off and be able to seize the opportunities waiting to be discovered. Wynne Briscoe, the Regional Director at Maryland Small Business Development Center, Southern Region specializes in helping entrepreneurs develop the tools that they need to thrive in these uncertain times. Beyond pivoting, Wynne emphasizes the need for entrepreneurs and small businesses to be nimble – to be quick in identifying opportunities and challenges and adapt to them as they come. Listen in as she joins Rodney Flowers to share valuable insights that every business owner should get a hold of in these times.
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Nimbleness And Resilience In Small Business Development With Wynne Briscoe
I’m excited about this show. This is going to be a little bit different because I have Wynne Briscoe in the studio with me. She is the Regional Director for the Maryland Small Business Development Center. We’re going to be talking about small businesses, entrepreneurs, and surviving this pandemic that we are dealing with as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, what are some of the things that we do? What are some of the pitfalls that we have experienced and how can we avoid those in the future? If we have fallen into some of those, how can we get out of those? How can we change the game in this situation that we are in? Without further ado, I want to welcome Wynne Briscoe to the show.
Thank you so much for the invitation and for having me. I appreciate it. To answer your question, how can they take these challenges that we’re in now? What can they do? I would say the number one thing is to become nimble. I know people have overly saturated the words of a pivot. Most people are sick of hearing that word. I want to use the word nimble. With that, a couple of my colleagues and friends, we are joking about the balloon man. Do you know when you’re driving down the road, you see a car dealership, and you see the inflatable marketing piece out in front? Do you see how he moves?
One sent me a gift, a text message from the balloon man. They were two of them and they were dancing with each other. That’s our thing. It’s like, “How nimble are you?” The nimble are going to survive and the rigid are not. That’s point number one is become nimble. If you are not already flexible, you have to. What was, will never be again, as I remind people, since 9/11 happened, you now have become conditioned to go to the airport security and take off your shoes. You did not prior. In the ’90s, ’80s, we were not taking off shoes at airport security.
Now, it’s about becoming nimble, acknowledging that this is here looking at history and the Spanish flu to see what we experienced as our most 100-year pandemic. That’s the only thing we have to learn from in this country on a grand scale and to see how it impacted us for 2 to 3 years. It’s not going to be something that’s going to be gone by this fall or the next spring. It’s going to be with us the impact of it. It’s going to be at least 2 to 3 years. What can you do as an entrepreneur, as a person in the business to adjust your mindset, to prepare for that?Surround yourself with people who are going somewhere and making actionable steps to achieve them. Click To Tweet
How are you thinking about your personal and your business finances? Do you have multiple streams of income personally, as well as professionally? If there is something that has to shift if there happens to be resurgence again, or there are things that close, are you prepared for that? Taking the time, thinking about our long-term with COVID of two years at a minimum, the impact of that, and what you can do to a better plan, those that are nimble, and those that are planners are going to survive. They’re going to do so in a thriving capacity. Those that are fighting it, will not.
I want to come back to the word that you wanted to avoid for good reasons, which is the pivot. I believe that out of all that has occurred with the pandemic and COVID, it has created a lot of opportunities and those opportunities have been overshadowed, but all the devastation that has occurred. What are you seeing as you speak with your business owners and your experience with what’s going on with the pandemic? Are there opportunities that are something people are just saying, or are there opportunities that entrepreneurs should be focused on and pivoting towards in this case?
There are, and I’m 100% okay with the word pivot, but I can tell you that there’s a lot of people that are there over the word because it’s been overly used. Pivoting in the pandemic is something we’ve been encouraging people to do. Look at their products and the services that they offer and how can they deliver them to their customers in a new innovative way. The restaurant was a great example. I have a couple of clients that are restauranteurs. When the pandemic first happened, you remember, there was a shortage of everything. The grocery stores were running out of things. Some of the department stores were low.
Encouraging them since the dining rooms were immediately closed, they still had the deliveries of their supplies and their food coming in on a consistent basis. I suggested to quite a few restaurants, “Why don’t you utilize your food suppliers’ consistent delivery schedule and make your dining room, which can no longer be a dining room, a socially distant marketplace?” You saw that with quite a few local restaurants pivot. If they have in produce, meats, supplies, toiletries, all the things that were low in the stores now, their customers are able to come in and shop market style to get uncooked food.
They would break down those meats instead of you having them in large portions. The restaurant would receive them, you can come in and get 2 or 3 steaks or you can come in and get a pound or two of chicken or whatever it is that particular restaurant was known for and they put them in a marketplace style. As I tell people, you don’t think to go to a restaurant to buy toilet paper. We did that back in April, May, and even June to work with those businesses. They have overhead expenses and they had a supply chain that was continuous.
In order for them to pivot and look at what else can you do with your product and get that out to the customer and now you have new customers that you didn’t have before who were coming to you to pick up those items that were being delivered in a different way. It’s about being nimble and if I have a product you would like it, we have supply and demand. Now let’s give it to you in a different way. Instead of me preparing that steak and putting it on a plate for you to take, sit down and eat in the closed dining room that was no longer an option. “Let me sell this to you in an uncooked fashion and still be able to keep my cashflow,” which was key.
It’s about being open-minded here. I have a mentor, his wife always talks about the creative opportunity. Whenever you’re dealing with something that’s challenging, you always look for a creative opportunity. What’s the creative opportunity? It doesn’t always magically appear and you have to look forward and sometimes you have to create it yourself. What are some of the regulations that have changed that are making it difficult for people to be nimble?
I would say the largest thing has been capacity. It’s been group gatherings, things of those natures that how things were delivered before, where you had contact, and now things are contact lists. Those are some of the regulations that have made things in certain industries, not deliverable. We’ve seen the restaurants that typically do food service, where it was an open format. Now, there is no buffet-style like that. Those restaurants are closed. When we look at venues that were group gatherings or even outdoor activities, now we’re starting to get into small outings, but socially distance. For any of those businesses that were dependent on crowds, then their businesses have struggled. Helping them to facilitate what it is that they do, but maybe in a different way, has been key.To be able to say, 'I don't know this,' is our strongest strength. Click To Tweet
Looking at the businesses that completely closed during COVID like the gyms and how they were able to take whatever fitness instruction that they offer and making it virtual, shifting the minds of the business owner, the personal trainer to be able to say, “Can you offer this where they can watch it at home on a digital platform? You can still charge them for maybe a subscription or per class. They’re not going to be able to come into your facility and use the equipment.” Being able to help them be nimble to pivot has been key, but they have to be open to it. Now, people are getting it. There was a lot of resistance at first because it was many unknowns, but now we have a good majority of people who get it. They understand this is not going to change tomorrow. I need to be open to change. If not, you will not be around.
As part of that being open, we talked about how the creative opportunity could cause new income streams. That’s one of the things I’ve been focused on even as a business owner. We, for example, doing keynotes virtually, doing trainings virtually even if things weren’t to go back, I would still offer that as a service for people, essentially a new, income stream. I feel that without COVID or this situation may not have thought of that now. For that, I’m grateful, but I’m imagining that even you’re seeing a lot of opportunities were, “This is going to be a permanent thing. This is a new income stream that you can utilize. Even if we go back, this is something that you still want to explore in your business.”
Anything virtual at this point, whatever product or service that they delivered, can you still do that in a remote environment going forward once things return? I don’t want to say back to normal, because that won’t be, but once things settled down. The opportunities have been great for those who have been willing to seize them. We humorously said for some of our business owners, I told them when I’m teaching my last business plan class was, “Do a SWOT analysis on the pandemic because we’re quirky like that.” Look at some of the things that were bad. No doubt. There were some tragic things that have happened. There’s been a loss of life.
For that, we’re deeply saddened for those things, but on the converse of that, there have been many opportunities, whether it’s been the creative process of new income streams, thinking outside of the box, connecting to a new audience in a new way and a customer base that you might not have connected with before. Whether it’s looking at what you currently offer and now saying, “What can I bring in an additional service or product where my mainstay stays my mainstay and now because of COVID and some regulation changes, I’m able to offer things a little differently?” I feel like going forward, it’s definitely going to be the virtual environment is here to stay.
I know for us, the classes that we wanted to teach have always been in classroom instruction. We’ve had 90% in classroom instruction and 10% web-based. We have been trying for I would say 2 to 3 years different attempts on going fully virtual. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit, everyone went remote. Do you know how fast we learned and how fast we got curriculum virtual? Rodney, iron’s our entire cadre of classes. We were able to pivot in three weeks because you don’t have a choice. There’s a difference when you’re going along and life happens and we’re going to do things as usual.
Maybe we’ll take the time to invest in technology and training to do things a little differently. Pandemic happens. You have no other option. You have to deliver this product or this service, you will learn fast. That’s exactly what happened. We hit the ground running and we pivoted for sure. By April 2020, we were able to roll out a new cohort of training with the state that had eight weeks of classes that we typically did all of those in the classroom and we deliver them all virtually.
Wynne, what would you say to maybe the up and coming entrepreneur or the inspiring entrepreneur that wants to start a business and maybe feeling like, “Maybe now is not the time with this pandemic going on?”
A couple of things, number one, plan and prepare. This is not the time for the shoot from the hip. Spontaneity, you’ve got a plan. Number two, find a solution to a problem. That could be number one and have a plan, could be number two, because anything that you want to start in order for it to sustain, there needs to be a demand for it. With customers, do that customer discovery process. That doesn’t matter if you go ask folks in a survey capacity to say, “Would you pay for this? How much would you pay for this? How long would you pay for this? How many times would you pay for this?”
Some of those basic questions and SurveyMonkey or verbally asking family and friends. That customer discovery process is the first thing I would have people do. Solve a problem, find a problem, create a solution, plan, be prepared, and then from there, follow through. Surround yourself with mentorship. It’s very key. Those who have already gone before you that are either in your industry or in a similar industry learn from them because it’s easier to learn from them time and money-wise than it is for you to waste those two things. I always tell people, “Come ask me questions. I have no problem with that. I have no problems sharing with you successes, and failures.”What appear to be obstacles are sometimes just opportunities waiting to be discovered. Click To Tweet
I don’t even know that I can say failures because I think I have a lot of life lessons versus failures at this point. I tell people at this age I’ve made to 41, I have a life of love and lessons. It’s the perspective and looking at surrounding yourself with people is key. If you’re an up and coming entrepreneur, surround yourself with people that are going somewhere, be mindful of your circle. If people around you are not ambitious, if they don’t have goals, if they don’t have dreams that they are working towards, not just talking about the dream. So-and-so had been talking about opening up whatever for the last twenty years and they haven’t yet. That’s not your circle. Surround yourself with people who are going somewhere, making actionable steps to achieve them.
What about funding? Is there funding available from a financial standpoint and the situation that we’re in now? Are there things that upcoming entrepreneur or even existing entrepreneurs that’s struggling with this? Are there things that we need to know about different programs, grants, and things like that?
Yes. There are two different parts, I would say. An existing entrepreneur or business owner, there are still grant funding. If you are in our region, we’re in St. Mary’s County, there’s still grant funding from the County. You have that in St. Mary’s and in Charles. The funding has closed for County funds from Calvert, but the Charles and St. Mary’s are still open. You would go to the Economic Development Offices of those specific counties and the application process is there. From the State of Maryland to commerce, their fund had closed, but you still have federal funding.
You still have means of getting from your SBA perspective and then from your bank always look at those options. If they do not have a banking relationship with their bank, no better time to start that than immediately. If they are up and coming and they do not have an existing business, that is a little different. Most entrepreneurs are self-funded. Businesses are going to be from your seed, from your pocket, from family, and from friends. You may find some investors here or there, but in this environment, it’s going to be a little different. It’s got to be someone that’s going to believe in your vision.
Number one, put together a good strategic business plan and the strategic marketing plan, so that you can map out with those financial projections who is going to invest in your business and what they possibly would get in return. Those are going to be key. I know that one of the favorite sites that I go to is called HelloAlice.com. It’s a great resource online that shows quite a few grants and loan opportunities, Grants.gov is also another great website. Search online, you’ll find that there are quite a few resources out there for grants. I always discourage loans for businesses that do not have consistent, stable, reoccurring income. Once you start that debt source, you need to be able to repay, and it’s going to put you in a deeper state if you’re not able to repay that timely. You want to be mindful of that. I encourage my entrepreneurs to use debt as a last resource after you have stable, consistent income so that you know that you will be able to consistently repay that debt.
What are some of the things you’re finding in terms of characteristics of people, business owners, entrepreneurs that are able to manage the situation that we’re dealing with now? I wrote a white paper about businesses surviving in the pandemic. I did a few case studies and my focus was identifying those that were thriving during this situation right in the heart of it, and pulling out some of the characteristics that I felt was causing them to thrive. I want to ask you based on your experience, what are you finding as some of the common traits or characteristics of businesses that are thriving in this pandemic?
Entrepreneurs with the hustle, heart, those that truly understand that they have a passion for what they do, and they’re not willing to let it go. Those that are hungry with that hustle hearts, that are willing to again, be nimble, to be survivors. They’re going to look at any and every way to make it work. That’s what I’ve seen as a common trait and age hasn’t been a factor. At first, we thought it might’ve been. There haven’t been too many key demographics that’s been a consistent factor because I was looking at that from a research perspective.
The traits that I see are those who are hungry, who want to survive and they’re willing to do any and everything. They’re willing to go out of the way, trying new things that they’ve never tried before, explore new options, coming together, speaking with those that are in their industry, maybe talking with even their competitors for the first time to say, “What are you guys doing and what can we do to make some modifications to still be around?” That’s what I’ve seen as a common thread.
That’s what I was going to say. With the case studies that I’ve done, it was the networking. People are developing new relationships, or you’ve been deepening your relationships and even collaborating in some cases. Using the resources that they can no longer use as much as they typically would use them because the business has slowed down. They found new ways to use them within these new relationships and new networks so there’s a lot of collaboration that has taken place. That’s what I’m finding as one of the things that people are using.
You got to get out of your box. When I was a private business consultant when I owned my own firm before coming on board with SBDC that was something that I used to facilitate was what was called co-competition. Working with your competitor, because it’s better to have a piece of the pie than no pie. It may be, “If you and I work together, then maybe we get 50/50 versus me getting nothing and you get 75%.” There’s a portion of the audience that we’re going to miss. It’s about being willing to come outside of your comfort zone, letting down your pride a little and say, “Let’s collaborate. Let’s work together. Let’s bring the customers to us. Let’s see how we can even package things together. If we’re looking at a collaborative. Let’s create an experience, let’s reach a similar audience. We may have the same product with the same service and how do we work together?”
It’s creating a whole new level of collaboration and new relationships. In 2019, we would have told them they would have been working with their competitors. They would have given you a response, you couldn’t have believed. Now it’s like, “We’re working with XYZ business to help bring this together and create a good customer experience.” It’s about getting outside of your comfort zone and thinking about new ways. I feel like the word pivot and innovation are two of my favorite words, but you got to be open to both.
Collaboration as we’re talking because we’re all on the same team. This situation with COVID highlighted that. We’re all in this together. In order for us to win, we have to come together to win. When I think about sports, a game, the team has to work together may be in different positions, but yet I got to do my job. You got to do your job. We need to understand each other where I’m going to be on the field, where you are going to be on the field, what your job is, what my job is. We’re essentially working together to reach a common goal.
That’s more important now in business as we deal with this going further in the future because we’re all trying to win and there may be things that I know and understand based on the way I play the game that could help you win. There may be things that you know but if we’re not communicating, we’re not talking, then we don’t get to share that information. If I’m not thinking about you win, and I’m only thinking about my win, even if I win, I still lose as a team and you don’t win if you don’t win as a team. With that mindset going forward, we have to think about each other in business as our teammates versus our competitors.
That’s what I was saying, it’s all about that mindset. It’s 100% about perspective. Collaborations, I’m hoping to go nowhere. I’m hoping that in the future that they stay, that they don’t dissolve, that once things settle down, people don’t then go back into their bubbles and have that selfish mindset that they stay in a collaborative environment, that they can see that we’re better together. That’s the key. That’s all facts it’s personally and professionally is, what can we do to better ourselves, better each other, and better a community as a whole?
What do you see as the environment going forward? What are some of the things we need to think about in terms of, what are your thoughts of how things are going to be, the type of environment we’re going to be working in and your outlook on business as a whole? What are some of the things we should prepare for?
The environment you’re going to be working in is going to be more virtual than ever still. With the gathering, it’s something that’s going to be altered for at least the next two years. That’s something to become comfortable with. If people are not comfortable with the virtual environment, if they’re not comfortable with the remote, they want to become comfortable. This is going to be something they’re going to experience for a while and something that they need to adjust to for sure. The business environment is still going to be more hands-off in some instances, depending on the product or service that you offer.
If you’re service-based, I would say still try to connect with your audience in some remote virtual capacity. If you’re able to reopen with that service, then maybe look at that as a second stream of income, where now you’re servicing people inside your office. You’re also now able to connect with people who still want to remain in a remote environment. Like you’re stating it provides additional streams of income. If you’re a business that you deliver, product-based or consumable-based, then let’s look at how we’re able to allow the shopping experience of someone coming in and buying from us to be still compliant with CDC regulations.
At the same time, are we nimble enough to provide the experience for maybe delivery, maybe curbside keeping that going? With additional streams of income, we’re able to reach a broader audience with us being nimble going forward. Those are going to be some things for the next 2 to 3 years for people to think about is, do you have a minimum of 3 to 5 streams of income? This is what I’ve always suggested even before COVID was that every business should have a minimum of 3 to 5 streams of income. Looking at that, you have more than three bills. You should have more than three streams of income.
What are some of the pitfalls we should be aware of to make sure we don’t fall into those things?
Entrepreneur pitfall number one, thinking you know it all. Entrepreneur pitfall number two, refusing help. Number three, not utilizing professionals. There are quite a few pitfalls that start with the team of me for an entrepreneur. To be able to let them know you’re gifted in whatever you’re gifted in, but that’s not everything. That’s why there are professionals for accounting, for those that are in the product-base and those that are in service-base. Utilize those professionals. They’re here for a reason. You can’t do it all, so utilize your staff. Let them know that they’re appreciated as well.
That’s key, utilizing your staff, utilizing a team, bringing in the collaborative energy and mindset’s very key. Also, you don’t know it all. Be willing to learn, to be open, to be corrected even. To be able to say, “I don’t know this,” that’s our strongest strength. For me as a consultant, I had to learn that because we always are expected to have the answers. There are times when I had to gather that as strength, as a trait in my character professionally, to be able to say, “I don’t know, but let me research and get back to you.”
That’s something people need to become comfortable with is not knowing because there’s many unknowns and going with the flow, being nimble, and follow the rules and regulations until we get to the next plateau. Those would be things I would say are pitfalls for entrepreneurs, as well as people in general, but understanding that we don’t know at all, utilize professionals and indefinitely come with a collaborative team environment, allow people to work with you. Some people say, “By the time I train you or teach you, I could do it myself.” Yes, that’s true but it’s always better together.
Going forward, there’s still a lot of uncertainty around what the future looks like. What would you recommend people do or how would you recommend people deal with this level of uncertainty?
Me, personally, I have a faith core. For me, every day is an uncertain. I lean on my faith. That’s what faith is. That’s not just pandemic that’s in general from day-to-day, minute by minute, second by second. That’s what faith is. I would say to people if you don’t have a faith core, you might want to obtain one during this time. It’s going to give you a little bit more ease. You’re going to have that anxiety of the unknown because you’re trying to control everything, but once you brace and understand that you’re not in control, no matter how much you think you are, you are not.
As I like to say to people, “Let me bring you some encouragement now. Take hope to know that you are not in control, but it’s okay.” Have faith and knowing that what is in control ultimately is looking out for your best good and you need to be mindful of that. At the end of the day, you can’t control what is not in control. That is going to cause you a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear if you try to digest that emotionally. I would say, don’t even take it on.
Wynne, how can people connect with you if they wanted to learn more from you how to survive and thrive in this pandemic with their business?
LinkedIn, it’s going to be the best way. People can search for Wynne Briscoe and connect with me, send me a connection request. We’ll definitely chat if there’s something, a resource that they need, information or guidance. That’s fine. If they are anywhere in the United States reading this, they would want to go to AmericasSBDC.org and find the Small Business Development Center near them. They can put in their ZIP code or their state. They can search both ways and find the location that’s best for them. It’s a taxpayer resource. It’s no cost to them. They’re already paying for it in their taxes. I highly encourage them to utilize the service that they’re already paying for no-cost business consulting, no-cost training, and be able to start grow or expand a business.
I want to thank you for coming to the show. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us. This information was needed before the pandemic and it’s even more so needed now. Not only just the information, but it’s also the support that people need in order to continue on in a business and in their lives. For those that are reading, I realize this is difficult to manage, but yet not impossible. It’s just going to require us to be nimble, agile, flexible, and open-minded to new ways of doing business. For me, that’s the most exciting part of everything that’s going on. It’s new opportunities every single day. It’s finding those and sometimes it feels like looking for a needle in a haystack, it truly does, but yet when you find it, it makes the search worth it. Thank you for providing that support.
To know that the opportunities are there. You may feel that they’re an obstacle now, but they truly aren’t. They’re an opportunity that are yet to be discovered. Take the time and find that it’s going to be like a gift on Christmas Day like, “This is something I would have never thought of.” Many times, it’s using your existing things. You were always in on-location speaker and it’s like, “Now, I can pivot in this. Here’s a brand new opportunity. I don’t even have to leave home. I can do more events in a week than I ever could have in person.”
It’s almost like, “Why didn’t I think of this? Why wasn’t I pursuing this in the first place?”
It’s the gift that keeps on giving because you’re open to it now. You’re going to see that once you become open to it, it’s going to come in like a flood gate and you’re going to welcome that energy in of more and more creative opportunity.
Thank you for coming on the show. Before we leave, we always like to ask our guests about the game-changer mentality question. What would you want to leave with us? You’ve given us so much about how to deal with what we’re dealing with as entrepreneurs, but how can people bounce back from adversity, dominate their challenges and consistently win at the game of life?
Forgiveness. I can give you one word as a takeaway. If you don’t, it holds you back in every area of your life. I know that was deep. You didn’t think about that. I know that was left field for you. Forgive themselves and others and thrive. Do that one thing, then we can talk about everything else.
Thank you again, Wynne, for stopping by and hanging out with me.
There you have it, another successful episode of the show. Above all that we’re dealing with, of all the challenges and the obstacles and the seeking of the new opportunities, the figuring things out, sometimes we have to come back to forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves, of others is powerful and cleansing. A lot of times it’s blocking us from moving forward, from seeing things for what they are and seeing the opportunities that exist for us. Maybe in all the figuring out and all the overcoming, we stop, take a step back, and just forgive. Let’s get that done first and then maybe we can work on all the other things that Wynne has shared with us. Until next time, peace and love. Stay strong.
- Maryland Small Business Development Center – LinkedIn
- Wynne Briscoe – LinkedIn
About Wynne Briscoe
Wynne Briscoe a native of St. Mary’s County, an entrepreneur since the age of 7, and a forward-thinking innovative business pioneer. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Minor in Business and Concentration in Business Law. Wynne has over 30 years of entrepreneurship and business ownership experience to include retail, professional services, technology, and manufacturing. Since 2001, Wynne has successfully consulted and advised thousands of entrepreneurs, businesses, and non-profit organizations. She is known for her creativity and innovation in the development of new businesses by offering in-depth experience and assisting them from concept to profitability to exit strategy. Wynne has a passion to work with Young Entrepreneurs. She enjoys coaching and mentoring youth towards years of success while helping them realize business ownership and self-employment as a viable career option. Wynne is establishing a young entrepreneurship mentoring program and summer camp for youth to start and thrive as successful business owners.
In 2007 Wynne became a Licensed Maryland Real Estate Agent with Century 21 New Millennium. She has assisted many first-time homebuyers by helping them realize their American Dream is possible and handholding them through the entire homeownership process. Wynne also enjoys commercial real estate and has helped many small businesses with architectural designs, site selection locations, commercial leases, purchases, construction build-outs, layouts, and merchandising.
Wynne founded Forever Eden Organics in 2010 as Maryland’s second Certified Organic Bodycare Manufacture with a commercial production facility located in California, MD. Creating and overseeing the entire production process of over 55 exclusive organic products that are enjoyed by customers globally. She is also proficient in the health and wellness industry and has assisted many naturopathic and holistic entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.
Wynne is the newly appointed Regional Director for the Maryland Small Business Development Center – Southern Maryland Region. Since 2016 she has worked with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maryland Small Business Development Center – Southern Maryland Regional Office as the Business, Management, Technology & Manufacturing Consultant and consults select industries Statewide. She also enjoys assisting the Retail and Restaurant industries as they often have the highest failure rates among business types and need additional support or guidance to ensure success. Wynne is an AASBC Certified Business Consultant and a Certified Technology Business Consultant from the Institute for Technology Commercialization at the University of Houston. As the SBDC Technology Liaison for the Southern Maryland Region, she has assisted in taking technological concepts through the technical and intellectual commercialization process to the mass market. As the Maryland SBDC Statewide Manufacturing Consultant, she has assisted startup entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies.
Wynne was awarded the 2017 Maryland Governor’s Citation in Recognizing Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Businesses. “Ms. Briscoe’s enthusiasm and drive for small business growth are infectious. Always ready to lend a hand and genuinely deserving of the St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development’s nomination for the Governor’s Citation recognizing small, minority and women-owned businesses.” Robin Finnacom, Former Deputy Director, St. Mary’s County Department of Economic Development.
Wynne received the Southern Maryland Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction “Igniting Innovative Inspirations” Award during their 2017 Women’s Empowerment Day event where she was a keynote speaker.
Wynne has presented the “Power of One” Award in 2018 from the NAACP St. Mary’s County Branch “For Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Small Business Ownership, and Development” with St. Mary’s County and the surrounding region.
The County Commissioners of St. Mary’s County presented Wynne with the 2019 Small Business Proclamation which acknowledges the contributions made by small businesses to the economic growth and quality of life locally, in the State of Maryland in the United States.
During the America’s Small Business Development National Center Conference in Long Beach, California – Wynne was awarded the top honor of Maryland State Star recognizing her as the top business consultant in Maryland for 2019.
Wynne is highly engaged in the Southern Maryland community and the Maryland Small Business Eco-System. Personally, her passion is growing her relationship with God, always willing to help others, assisting the local homeless shelters and food banks. Professionally, she is the former Chairwoman of the St. Mary’s County Government Economic Development Commission (County Commissioners Appointed), Chairwoman of the St. Mary’s County NAACP Economic Development Committee, an Ambassador for the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce, the Official Brand Ambassador for the Potomac Jazz and Seafood Festival, Southern Maryland Liaison for the Maryland Million Women Mentor & STEM Initiative, Ambassador for the Dream Queen Association, Mentor for Gals Lead Teen Mentoring Program, Facilitator of Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University, College of Southern Maryland Business Course Instructor, Maryland Small Business Development Center Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Member, Member of the University of Maryland Alumni Association, Planning Team Member for the Southern Maryland Innovates, Workshop Facilitator and Mentor for the SOMD STEM-ING Teen Girl Program, Mentor and Program Facilitator for the St. Mary’s County Public Schools Future Business Leaders of America Program.
In addition to serving her local community, Wynne loves the beach, traveling, modeling, baseball, reading, and spending time with her large family and loving friends!
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