NC Chamber Cornerstone member Meta brought their well-known COO, Sheryl Sandberg, to the Triangle last week and collaborated with the NC Chamber to host a roundtable discussion with small businesses.
NC Chamber CEO Gary Salamido welcomed attendees and NC Chamber Chair Sepi Saidi, CEO of SEPI, Inc., helped to facilitate the discussion. NC Chamber Board Member Jim Sills, president and CEO of M&F Bank, made remarks on the value he places on being able to connect small businesses with access to capital, particularly through the pandemic.
It was exciting to hear more about how the tools Meta provides to small businesses have helped to create jobs and opportunities in our state. Business owners from 321 Coffee, The Green Monkey, Isaline Beauty, The Kitchen Archive, and Piedmont Pennies, shared their inspiring stories and made great connections during the discussion.
When Meta asked us for small businesses with a great story, we were thrilled that NC Chamber Cornerstone member Pendo could help connect us with Lindsey Wrege and Michael Evans at 321 Coffee. A coffee shop and roaster built on inclusion, 321 currently employs over 30 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Lindsey and Michael met during their freshman year as Park Scholars at NC State and started the business using their dorm rooms for extra storage. Following the roundtable and fireside chat, Sheryl and her team traveled to the 321 Coffee location in Pendo’s headquarters where they spent some time with the 321 team and did a live stream via Instagram.
Rusty Sutton and Drew Temple of The Green Monkey, a Raleigh gift shop and neighborhood bar serving craft beer and fine wine, talked about their humble beginnings under a blue tent as an outside vendor at the Raleigh Flea Market at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Meta’s social media tools helped them grow their business with no marketing budget and today they have a brick-and-mortar location on Hillsborough Street.
Marche Robinson is an attorney and content creator who recently leveraged her social media presence to launch Isaline Beauty, a luxury haircare line for textured hair. Sheryl did an Instagram Live with Marche and discussed Meta’s We the Culture program, an initiative to support and empower Black creators on Meta platforms, as well as Marche’s pivot from her corporate job to full-time creator.
David Foye, dubbed one of Jim Sills’ favorite M&F clients, is the owner of The Foye Group, a privately held organization focused on the culinary scene in the Raleigh-Durham area. It operates The Kitchen Archive at locations in Durham and Raleigh, offering commercial kitchen space to host caterers, food trucks, and bakers who serve food throughout the Triangle area. During the roundtable, David discussed Meta-owned WhatsApp as a key tool for him to communicate with his clients who are all working different, unique hours.
What started as Becca Jordan Wright’s MBA class project in August 2020, is now a snack company with 5 employees, two flavors, and 100+ retailers across 8 states. Using Meta’s tools to connect with the appropriate, very specific, target audience, while maintaining the privacy of that audience, was key for Piedmont Pennies, particularly as it launched during the pandemic. Attendees at the roundtable had the opportunity to sample Piedmont Pennies and the NC Chamber team can confirm they are delicious.
Thank you to the Meta team, Sheryl Sandberg, and each small business owner for your time. It was truly a pleasure to host such an engaging, inspiring discussion. We look forward to continued collaboration.