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St. Louis Business Community Enriched by Women-Owned Enterprises

In the 35 years since the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, women have made significant strides in entrepreneurship. In the United States, women now own 43.2% of small businesses, with St. Louis boasting a 45% ownership rate among the region’s small businesses. However, despite this progress, challenges persist for women entrepreneurs, including a lack of access to capital.

To address these challenges and promote women’s financial equality, PNC Bank launched the PNC Bank + Coralus Collective. This initiative, created in partnership with global nonprofit Coralus (formerly SheEO), brings together women entrepreneurs and financial advisers to collaborate on business growth and success. Members of the Collective gain access to the extensive Coralus ecosystem, virtual monthly financial education programs, and relationships with PNC-Certified Women’s Business Advocates who are committed to supporting women financial decision-makers.

Among the inaugural members of the PNC Bank + Coralus Collective are seven St. Louis-based women business owners, including Cara McKedy and Mellarie Thomas.

Cara McKedy is the president of Eddy Design Group, an architecture and interior design firm. She prioritizes creating an inclusive workplace culture and designing shared public spaces that foster belonging and accessibility. Through inclusive design principles, McKedy’s team is working on physical environments that accommodate diverse needs and preferences. An example is their design for the renovation of the Thomas Jefferson Library and St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, which includes various study areas catering to different preferences.

Mellarie Thomas, CEO of Tommy Wong Select, embarked on a journey to commercialize a cherished family seasoning blend called Tommy Wong. This venture has grown to offer five seasonings, three sauces, and one syrup, with two more blends in the pipeline. Thomas emphasizes the importance of collaboration and the support of the local vendor community in her business journey.

Both McKedy and Thomas have found value in participating in the PNC Bank + Coralus Collective, exchanging knowledge with fellow women business owners and contributing to each other’s success and growth.

The initiative reflects PNC’s commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and promoting women’s financial equality in entrepreneurship.

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