Small Business Support Ecosystem Builds Capacity to Scale and Succeed - Luminary Electrical

Posted on October 22, 2022

Shawni Davis 2022

Shawni Davis is Syracuse’s first female Black master electrician, with more than 15 years’ experience in the field. Last year, she started her company, Luminary Electrical, a New York State MWBE Certified company that performs commercial and industrial electrical work. Luminary is an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 43 contractor.

Davis has a keen understanding of the market potential, and seeks growth opportunities through regional general contractors, larger union-affiliated electrical contractors, anchor institutions, public sector contracts and other small independent business owners. However, Luminary faced a need for additional access to capital to expand its staff, to fill mid-level functions of the company, as Davis has continued to act as a laborer, supervisor, administrator, manager and executive.

While Luminary had existing relationships with commercial banks, it was unable to secure enough loan capital to fund the growth of the company despite a good track record of contract performance and several quality contracts on the horizon.

The lack of existing market solutions, her high level of engagement with CenterState CEO programs, and other credentials, including strong potential for growth and opportunity to offer family-sustaining wages and job opportunities, made her an ideal fit for CenterState CEO Growth + Equity financing.

Through the support of CenterState CEO and the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation, Luminary was awarded a Growth + Equity loan for working capital to support new hires, operations and the purchase of equipment. Davis has already used the loan to hire staff. Additionally, the Surge for Small Business program has helped Davis with small business technology to help her become more profitable and sustainable.

To further support Luminary’s success, CenterState CEO’s Surge XBE Exchange is providing technical assistance to help the company meet opportunities on its horizon. CEO launched the Surge XBE Exchange in 2021, a Syracuse Surge procurement pilot program aimed at empowering diverse entrepreneurs and company owners to access business opportunities in smart systems, smart cities, high-tech manufacturing and other tech clusters. Its goal is to support XBEs (minority-, woman-, veteranand/ or disabled-owned businesses) and entrepreneurs like Davis as they seek business opportunities with established firms, including larger member businesses or anchor institutions, and scale their business.

Beyond her engagement with CenterState CEO, Davis has also actively leveraged the supports of other small business services in the area, including the Southside Innovation Center and Onondaga SBDC. Luminary is also a member of the Upstate Minority Economic Alliance. and was named 2022 Onondaga County Small Business of the Year.

Davis’ story, and the potential for more companies like her to be part of rebuilding Syracuse’s future, inspired officials to select her to introduce President Joe Biden as he visited Syracuse in October 2022 for the historic announcement of Micron’s growth and investment in Central New York.

CenterState CEO is grateful for the opportunity to serve her on this journey!

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