May 5, 2017

AARP Work For Yourself @50+ Training Program

3rd AARP Training, April 4, 2017
3rd AARP Training, April 4, 2017

The Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) was one of the first organizations in the country  selected to carry out the inaugural nationwide AARP Work For Yourself @50+ Training Program. Beginning November 15, 2016, the AWBC partnered with South Arkansas Community College’s Workforce and Continuing Education Department to host a series of three training workshops in El Dorado, AR. While the Work for Yourself @+ program will facilitate trainings throughout the United States, this November training was the first to take place program-wide. Work For Yourself @50+ helped low and moderate income adults age 50+ gain the knowledge, support and resources they needed to make informed decisions and take the right first steps toward successful self-employment.

John Riggins of The Riggins Group, Inc. taught each of the three 90-minute workshops, walking participants through the Work For Yourself @50+ materials and connecting them with local resources to help them reach their goals.

“The workshop was very informative,” said Patricia, a participant. “It really helped me navigate whether I was ready for the next step of starting my own business, which is such a big step. I have now moved on to the next steps of business planning for opening my own business and am in the process of financing a building to open my own restaurant.”

Following the workshops, the AWBC offered one-on-one counseling to each participant to determine feasibility of their start-up business ideas, begin business plans, locate financial resources and take other steps toward starting her business. The AWBC trained and worked with 29 individuals between the three workshops and the one-on-one counseling from November 2016 through April 2017. Work For Yourself @50+ was made possible through a grant from The Hartford. 

Mar 23, 2017

Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Report

We are pleased to report that all Christopher Dowswell scholars are making very good progress. So far, the program has a 100 percent retention rate; no scholar has dropped out of the program.

A recent SAFE Networking Workshop in Addis (March 13-15) saw more than 50 participants representing 24 agricultural universities and colleges from nine countries. The participants strongly agreed on the need to recruit more female extension agents to ensure improved food security. As one of the most effective strategies to increase the presently very small pool of active female field agents, the expansion of programs such as the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship (CDS) program was specifically highlighted. During the discussions, additional efforts were suggested, including the development of distant learning programs where extension staff can pursue a BSc degree without being required to be on campus full-time. The University of Abomey-Calavi in the Republic of Benin introduced such a program three years ago, and, indeed, the proportion of females participating in this program is higher than the proportion of female students in the traditional (full-time on-campus) student body. The CDS program is now seriously considering including Benin and the University of Abomey-Calavi as an additional country and university for new scholarships at the end of this calendar year. The scholarships would specifically support female students enrolled in this new semi-distance learning program.

Feb 21, 2017

Clip-On Pattern Holder with Lap-Workstation

Donna has a passion for knitting and kept have a reoccurring problem.  She loves to sit in her favorite easy chair and knit, but she had no way to hold her work, read her pattern, and hold a lamp, all the while doing her knitting.  She created a non-skid lapboard that fits comfortably on her legs, has a stand for the pattern, and has an attachment for a small reading lamp, leaving her hands free to knit.  Her new invention worked so well for her she felt others might want it.  That’s when she turned to the Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC).

“After talking to other knitters, I knew my invention could help them as well, she said. “But, I had no idea how to get started.”

The AWBC connected Donna with a business counselor who helped her to identify start up costs, gain feedback from potential buyers, start the patent process, and recommend her pricing strategy. Donna has received her initial patent  and soon will be producing the first run of her Clip-On Pattern Holder with Lap-Workstations.

According to Donna, “The Women’s Business Center helped make my idea a reality.  I can’t wait to launch my business and start making life easier for knitters everywhere.”

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