The owner of a Merrillville-based business is one of 100 Black women entrepreneurs selected for grant funding from the American Express (NYSE: AXP) “100 for 100” program. Brianna Hairlson, founder of Bri’s Dance Place, will receive a $25,000 grant and 100 days of business resources, including education, mentorship and virtual networking.

Hairlson is the only Indiana entrepreneur to be selected for the program. Bri’s Dance Place is a dance studio that teaches a variety of dance styles to local youth, as well as pregnancy and new mom dance classes.

“Through our years of experience with businesses in need of funding, we have found $25,000 can truly change the trajectory of an emerging business, said Karen Cahn, chief executive officer of IFundWomen of Color, which co-created the program. “It could be the difference between one month of rent or five months, between being able to develop a decent prototype or a prototype that’s really not-so-great, and between doing real consumer testing or no testing at all. It means a business can do marketing to promote their product or service to drive more revenue and they can afford more payroll.“

American Express says the 100 days of business education will begin in January with a tailored curriculum focusing on topics including managing cashflow and growth and securing and maintaining customer relationships.

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