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Tysh Billingsley, Finale

Birmingham Event Planner Grows Startup Business with Help from CDFI Training Program

Financial and Social Impact

  • Launch of woman-owned startup business
  • Increase in job opportunities for local chefs, servers, musicians, artists, and venues

Client Tysh Billingsley, Finale
Client location – Birmingham, Alabama
CDFI TruFund Financial Services
CDFI services provided – Business coaching; loan preparedness
CDFI service area – New York, Alabama, Louisiana

When Tysh Billingsley dreamed about owning her own business, she didn’t let her breast cancer diagnosis stop her. With a vision to launch a popup food and wine experience centered around local art and music in Birmingham, Alabama, she connected with community development financial institution (CDFI) TruFund Financial Services. Applying skills she gained from TruFund’s six week EmpowHERment Program, she successfully launched Finale in 2016.

Today, Tysh is not only cancer-free and successfully growing her business, she’s also working on applying for a loan through impact investment platform CNote’s Wisdom Fund for women entrepreneurs. Since launching her business, Tysh has hosted more than 10 ticketed Finale events in Alabama, Ohio, and New Jersey, and she hopes to one day open a brick-and-mortar tasting room in Birmingham.

“When people get breast cancer, you think this is the end. Nothing else is left. But for me, it was just the beginning of my life,” Tysh said. “That slogan not only represents desserts and the end of the night. It means much more to me. Cancer catapulted me to the next phase of my life. I thought it was my end, but it was just my beginning.”

Looking for a community development financial institution (CDFI) in your region? 

Check out OFN’s CDFI locator.