WBEC South Goes Beyond Certification to Support Women Entrepreneurs
By Julie Lilliston
Click aqui para español- >Más allá de la certificación, WBEC South ofrece apoyo para empresarias
A New Orleans organization known for providing national certification of women-owned businesses for more than 25 years has expanded its programming to serve the changing needs of women entrepreneurs. For example, The Women’s Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC South) launched several new programs to help women scale their businesses and gain access to corporate buyers.
Enterprising Women of Color, powered by the Minority Business Development Agency, is a new program offered by WBEC South that is open to all women-owned companies of color, from startups to longstanding successful businesses. The customized programs include business coaching, procurement opportunities, technical assistance, leading-edge training, networking, matchmaking opportunities, and access to capital assistance.
In January, Enterprising Women of Color hosted a “Doing Business with Salesforce” Supplier Impact event at the WB Collective, a co-working and event space in New Orleans owned and operated by WBEC South. More than 20 business owners participated in a hybrid matchmaker event designed to connect small companies with opportunities at Salesforce, the world’s #1 customer relationship management platform.
“We are excited to start 2022 by hosting an impactful engagement event with corporate partners such as Salesforce,” shared Tiffany Carter, executive director, Enterprising Women of Color. “Intentional efforts such as the Salesforce Supplier Matchmaker illustrates the power of program partnerships, and we look forward to connecting participants with corporate opportunities throughout the year.”
Another new program launched in August 2021 is the Women’s Business Center South in Memphis, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Open to all women-owned businesses across the five-state region of Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Florida Panhandle, WBC South provides coaching, tools, and resources for women business owners to sustain and grow their enterprises. Ongoing education sessions include managing cash flow to technology and eCommerce, business accounting, tax planning, marketing, and sales.
“The WB Collectives in New Orleans and Nashville are for women executives and CEOs to gain access to resources they need to thrive.”
- Phala K. Mire. - President and CEO, WBEC South
After the center’s launch, WBC South Executive Director, Vonesha Mitchell, received hundreds of inquiries. “We’re overjoyed with the enthusiastic response we have received by women entrepreneurs since opening our doors. We have conducted dozens of coaching sessions and are excited to help women-owned businesses achieve the next level of success.”
As hybrid work models continue to gain traction during the pandemic, WBEC South launched two women’s co-working and special event spaces in New Orleans and Nashville. The interactive work and networking environments connect CEOs and facilitate relationships with corporate buyers. These distinctive spaces are uniquely designed to stimulate creativity and collaboration. They offer the ability to host hybrid events (in-person and virtual), catch up on emails, attend programming, and network with potential customers in a sophisticated, professional environment. The membership plans include a range of amenities such as a hot desk, dedicated offices, conference room, high-speed internet, office equipment use, mailboxes, and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment.
“The WB Collectives in New Orleans and Nashville are for women executives and CEOs to gain access to resources they need to thrive,” says Phala K. Mire, president, and CEO, WBEC South. “We want to help women business enterprises connect, collaborate, and grow their companies while taking advantage of professional growth opportunities.”
Learn more about all the programs and resources WBEC South offers for women entrepreneurs at https://wbecsouth.org.