Feb 7, 2017

Clip-On Pattern Holder with Lap-Workstation

Clip-on Pattern Holder
Clip-on Pattern Holder

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.”

Dec 28, 2016

Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Report

Table 1: Scholarships by Country & Degree
Table 1: Scholarships by Country & Degree

The lack of front line female agricultural extension agents is a critical limiting factor in increasing food production and food productivity in Africa. The Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Program makes an effort to increase the pool of female extension agents by providing modest financial support during their mid-career degree academic program. The program started in 2014 with a total of five scholars in Ethiopia, Mali and Nigeria. During the last quarter of 2016 four significant positive developments have taken place. First, the program was highlighted during the recent World Food Prize ceremony in the USA. Secondly, Winrock International announced a new contribution of USD 30,000 to the fund. Thirdly, Tanzania (Sokoine University for Agriculture - SAU) has been added as fourth country where the program will be active. The SUA Agricultural Extension department has hosted the largest number of mid-career degree students on the continent. The fact that the Head of the SUA Agricultural Extension Department is a female confirms the institutional commitment to female enrolment. Lastly, the growing pool of funds allowed an increase of 27 additional scholars nearly doubling the number of scholars. The total number of scholarship awards now amounts to 60 scholars in four countries. See Table 1.  None of the scholars have dropped out of their programs.

The interest in the program is increasing exponentially. The number of applications in all countries is up strongly while additional countries are eager to participate as well. The only factor limited the expansion of the program is the availability of funds. You can do something about that by making a generous contribution. On behalf of all hardworking and motivated female African field agents, we express our great appreciation for all the support received to-date.

Nov 10, 2016

AWBC Client Honored with Small Business Award

AWBC Client LaQuita with AWBC Director Liz Young
AWBC Client LaQuita with AWBC Director Liz Young

Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) client LaQuita won the first annual Spirit of South Arkansas Small Business Awards for Best Minority Owned Business in October 2016. Her 100% woman-owned, minority-owned business, Complete Home Care (CHC), was nominated and voted on by citizens of Union County. CHC provides 24 hour medical and non-medical support services delivered to the homes of seniors. CHC won in a landslide, beating   4 other well-known businesses in their category..

AWBC Director Liz Young said, “The AWBC is honored to have assisted LaQuita with this business endeavor over the last four years by providing continued one-on-one business counseling to help with employee management, business accounting, cash flow management, and other business needs.”

LaQuita first found the Center through a six-week training course the AWBC hosted called Operation Jump Start. She completed 12 training sessions, put together a business feasibility plan for her then 3-year old business, and competed in a business plan competition with her final plan. LaQuita was not new to entrepreneurship, running several other small business operations already. One of her other successful businesses turns 20 years old this year. After completing the training, she realized her need for further assistance, and became a client for one-on-one business consulting.

LaQuita is grateful of her support from AWBC and said the best thing about their services is that “the AWBC is there and has always been available when I need them. They offer a variety of services that I would not otherwise be able to afford, including marketing expertise, accounting expertise, and other services they have provided me as a resources.”

LaQuita is an excellent example of how consistent AWBC assistance can improve small business success, particularly for women-owned businesses. AWBC is still assisting LaQuita with Complete Home Care while also looking at new potential start-up business opportunities, and looks forward to helping her businesses grow and thrive. 

State Representative with Small Bus. Award Winners
State Representative with Small Bus. Award Winners
 
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