It's difficult enough during these tight credit days for small businesses to get loans — even more so if you're a woman.
That's where Christina Cain comes in. The former Capital One Financial Group executive, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, is a specialist in alternative finance. As a member of the nonprofit New Visions New Ventures, she helps women business owners and others write business plans, manage assets and pare down expenses.
When not working at her day job, she volunteers at the YWCA. Cain also teaches a six-week long class about financial literacy and how to write a business plan. And she's helped female business owners apply for special assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Decisions often come down to practical, common sense, she says: “You may think you need $50,000 to get started but maybe you could get by with $20,000.”
Angelina Gonzales, the owner of a Harrisonburg-based catering business, says she was fortunate to get Cain's help. “By the end of an hour with her, you feel you are talking to a friend,” she says. Others say she's so involved in the community that she seems omnipresent at church groups, corporate boards, nursing schools and Girl Scout troops.
Cain gave up her lucrative job at Capital One to become a teller at an alternative bank in upstate New York. Her interest in community economic development led to a master's degree from a New Hampshire college. She moved back to Richmond and lives with her husband in Manchester. “It's a great location, you can be at Legend or downtown in five business minutes,” she says.
Editor's note: The print version of this story incorrectly listed Christina Cain's age, job title and involvement with Safe Harbor.