The Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) has reached the mid-year mark of our tenth year of operation. We are providing more women with technical assistance toward starting their own small business in the state of Arkansas. We are proud to report the AWBC has logged more than 900 hours in counseling and trainings this year, with 167 clients served.
The AWBC kicked off 2020 with an agenda full of learning for our clients, starting with two cohorts for the Arkansas small business community. The year began with our second cohort for Momentum (M2), a five-week small business accelerator for 10 early-stage, minority women-owned businesses. We also trained entrepreneurs with Foodpreneur, an accelerator for small farm and food-based businesses. Participants learned tools to help them in their business endeavors, such as creating a lean canvas business plan and following best business practices. They also trained for skills such as public speaking, technology (as they are building their pitch decks), and the importance of building relationships for networking.
In March, we concluded our Momentum cohort and held the M2 Pitch Competition. This allowed our ten entrepreneurs to pitch for seed capital. This fantastic event drew over 50 attendees, women-owned vendors, and more. Then, in a blink of an eye, all normal business ceased as the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything as we knew it. Schools and main street businesses were forced to close, and corporate personnel started to work from home to comply with new safety measures.
So many small businesses have been affected in some way by Covid-19, and the AWBC is here to help how we can. We are open and working at maximum capacity to help as many small business to thrive in these unprecedented times. The AWBC also encourages small business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs outside of the AWBC territory to find a U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) resource partner. Contact the local SBA’s Women’s Business Center, SCORE office, or Small Business Technology Development Center in your area for assistance. For those in our service area, we encourage you to reach out so we can assist with your business needs.