There is no such thing as a typical day for Taylor Beard. As director of Nasha Lending, a non-profit providing small loans to under-resourced entrepreneurs, Taylor is responsible for everything from strategy and marketing to making sure the coffee maker works. Nasha Lending is part of Mill Community Ministries, a collection of local outreach programs including Mill Village Farms, Mill Village Market, Village Wrench, and Textile Hall, a co-working community in West Greenville. Taylor is a firm believer in the power of communities and how social change can be brought about by partnerships, education, and opportunity. She’s also a firm believer in the power of homemade tacos, especially those topped with a squeeze of lime.
How did the concept for Nasha Lending come about?
Nasha Lending was the brainchild of two guys on staff at Grace Church. It was 2009, and they saw a need in our community for start-up capital for under-resourced entrepreneurs. Through the process of making loans and working with entrepreneurs, we realized they needed not only financial capital, but also relational capital and knowledge expertise.
How does it fit into the mission of Mill Community Ministries and Textile Hall?
We, Mill Community Ministries, are a collection of social entrepreneurs whose mission is to unite with God’s vision for individual life change and holistic transformation of under-resourced communities. One of the ways Nasha Lending supports local entrepreneurs is by providing office space and a community for business owners and entrepreneurs through a co-working space called Textile Hall.
What does success look like for Mill Community Ministries and Nasha Lending?
Success for Mill Community Ministries means working ourselves out of a job. In 10 years, if our communities are thriving . . . then our work is done. That will be true success. Specifically for Nasha Lending, I would love to see Greenville and the Upstate become a hub for creators, risk-takers, and go-getters. Our greatest asset as a community is our people.
How do you stay sustainable? Is this a strictly a non-profit idea?
Sustainability has always been core to who we are. When we began Nasha Lending, we reinvested the repaid loans into additional businesses in order to build a cycle of sustainability. Ventures like Textile Hall and the Mill Village Market are two ways we bring in additional revenue outside of the traditional donation and grant funds. That being said, non-profits exist because there is a gap in the economy the market cannot fill. As a non-profit, we rely on the generosity of others to help us fill that gap.
What has surprised you most about the entrepreneurs you work with?
I am most surprised by the community built among our entrepreneurs. They talk about the benefit of accountability and encouragement from people going through the same experiences. Our people get together outside of class, they help each other in their businesses, and they share information and resources. It’s really beautiful.
How important is “community” in what you do?
Community is what we do. I tell people all the time, my job is to connect our entrepreneurs with people smarter and more talented than me. We have a tremendous network of generous, talented, and successful people who use their skills and resources to support our entrepreneurs.
If you could snap your fingers tomorrow and have one thing what would it be?
An unlimited supply of homemade tacos—fresh tortillas, chicken, cilantro, onion, avocado, with a squeeze of lime. Or if we’re talking business related, then I would say a fully-funded budget to keep up with my brainstorm sessions!
When she’s not meeting with entrepreneurs or connecting with community members, Taylor Beard can be found hard at work in Textile Hall. For more information visit nashalending.org and textilehall.com