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With access to capital hard to come by for small black business owners, Patrice Banks is the proud recipient of a $50,000 prize from Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic (K4-MA). The cornerstone of the Keiretsu Forum angel investment network recently announced the winners of its third annual Angel Capital Expo.
Girls Auto Clinic is a female-empowerment business, owned and operated by Banks, who is an engineer and technician. The big winner of the coveted $100,000 investment from K4-MA was Tassl, a college-centric social network application for smartphones.
Of the $50,000 investment, $25,000 is an investment from the founders of K4-MA, with $25,000 of which being services in kind from Keiretsu Forum sponsors Drucker & Scaccetti and BakerHostetler. Keiretsu Forum is a global angel investor network with more than 1500 accredited investor members throughout 39 chapters on three continents (accredited investors are individuals who earn at least $200,000 annually and have $1 million net worth).Â Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic consists of four chapters that function as a single entity — Philadelphia, Â Washington, D.C. Metro, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Girls Auto Clinic is an organization dedicated to changing the perception of women in the automotive industry through both education and niche marketing. Roughly less than 2% of mechanics and auto technicians are women. Through Banks’ entrepreneurial efforts, Girls Auto Clinic has been able to support the role of women in the automotive environment through trust, education and, ultimately, inclusion by changing the way men look at their female counterparts; both for the better and for all time.
Banks was tired of being a victim of sexist discrimination with auto repairs. She took that frustration and turned it into a business venture. After seeing the glaring neglect of women working in the automotive industry, she made it her personal mission to empower and educate other women car owners with her knowledge. In 2012, she decided to enroll herself in classes to become a certified mechanic. She did so while still juggling her full-time job as an engineer for a year and a half.
For more information about the Girls Auto Clinic, click here.