“The Operation JumpStart Program sponsored by Winrock International’s Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) and the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service was just what I needed to begin my second career and make the transition from living and working in Tennessee to Arkansas. The course I attended was held in the fall of 2012 and I purchased Hardy Antiques January 1st 2013, so the timing could not have been better.
The classes were held at different Ozarka College locations in Melbourne, Salem and Ash Flat and traveling to them afforded me the opportunity to get to know these towns and some of the business people in them. The class material, handouts and the workbook we were furnished were well organized and chocked full of information, everything you would need to start and maintain a small business in Arkansas. I loved the real life examples of a small business owner's journey, the successes and missteps. The instructors gave us direction on how and where to apply for business permits, get sales and use tax and Federal ID numbers. In addition to the textbook material, we had interesting guest speakers; an attorney, accountant, publisher, banker, as well as established small business owners. These professionals gave us the good, the bad, and the ugly side of owning your own business. We had a beautiful "graduation" dinner when we completed the course and we gathered with instructors, classmates and friends to celebrate.
After completing the course we continue to have periodic follow up and interaction with our facilitator. After the Operation JumpStart class, the AWBC arranged two seminars on using Facebook and creating a Website for small business, which I attended. Nine months into this life changing event I am paying the bills, with a little to spare, and I feel good about it. I am truly thankful for the Operation JumpStart Program and the people involved in it. The name really fits what it is and what it does. It gave me the jumpstart I needed at just the right time in my life.”Martha Wilson, Owner
Opening in late August, the El Dorado Incubator Environment (EDIE) will be a retail business accelerator that provides the framework and support for a student-run business and accompanying retail space for the student business, recent Operation Jump Start graduates, and other AWBC clients throughout Arkansas.
This low cost, low risk endeavor will give start-up businesses a safe, efficient, and effective way to “test the waters” for their products. EDIE’s Village will work in conjunction with existing entrepreneurship programs as a means to enhance Arkansas’s entrepreneurial climate. Your contribution to the AWBC allows us to continue to make dreams of business ownership a reality for women in Arkansas. Women across the state learn skills and tools to make their business venture a success.
The Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) coordinated an entrepreneur conference and elevator pitch competition in El Dorado, Ark. on Friday, April 26, 2013.
The conference was a forum to connect, educate, and inspire small business owners. Hosted by the El Dorado Entrepreneur Task Force and sponsored by the South West Community College Consortium, Union County Investment Angels, Arkansas Department of Career Education, First Financial Bank, and Ray Traylor, CPA, the conference brought diverse perspectives on entrepreneurship while providing a platform for emerging companies, entrepreneurs, and investors to connect and take action.
The event featured Jason Lucash, owner of Orig Audio, as seen on the television hit Shark Tank and in Entrepreneur and Time magazines, and Jessica Haynes of Jeska Shoe Co., a native of Arkansas and also featured on Shark Tank.
The “Gone in 60 Seconds” competition was designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs hone the art of the "elevator pitch" and potentially help them connect with local investors. The top three winners received seed capital for their businesses with the first place winner receiving $1,000.
Your contribution to the AWBC allows us to continue to make dreams of business ownership a reality for women in Arkansas. Women across the state are able to learn and utilize skills and tools for making their business venture a success.
The Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) will open a new retail business accelerator—EDIE’s Village. The El Dorado Incubator Environment (EDIE) will be a business incubator that provides the framework and support for a student-run business and accompanying retail space for the student business, recent Operation Jump Start graduates, and other AWBC clients throughout Arkansas.
EDIE’s Village is a partnership between South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk) and the AWBC a project of Winrock International, through funding from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).
The project will achieve the following objectives:
1) increase market access for student and community entrepreneurs, and
2) increase access to business development mentoring services for entrepreneurs located in the Delta.
The incubator is scheduled to open this summer.
Your contributions to the AWBC continue to make dreams of business ownership a reality for women in Arkansas.
This month the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) held its second annual Mistletoe Market in El Dorado, Ark. The market provided 50 small businesses an opportunity to sell their holiday-oriented products to the public. This year the event also featured Miss Arkansas Sloane Roberts and a fashion show. The market was attended by nearly 900 customers.
The AWBC continues to provide training and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs who are interested in starting or expanding their businesses. The AWBC has partnered with five organizations in the Delta to implement Operation Jump Start, an award-winning comprehensive business development training program. Locations included: South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado, Houseaboutit in Little Rock, Black River Technical College in Paragould and Pocahontas, and University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension in Ash Flats. Participants will work for six weeks evaluating the feasibility of their business ideas. Graduates have an opportunity to compete for seed capital to start their businesses.
We appreciate your continued support to make dreams of business ownership a reality for women in Arkansas.
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