Arkansas Women's Business Center Receiving Positive Feedback

Sherry Howard, director of the new Arkansas Women's Business Center in El Dorado, believes the facility is already producing "positive vibes" in south Arkansas.

The center, part of Winrock International's U.S. Programs division and located on the campus of South Arkansas Community College, is open to anyone starting a business or wanting to learn more about starting one. But it will focus on Arkansas women.

"Maybe in the past, women entrepreneurs have been a little intimidated by the process," Howard said. "Maybe they've been a little leery about coming out. Having someone there to support them every step of the way makes them more comfortable about coming out and getting started."

It doesn't provide funding, but helps in almost every other aspect of getting a business off the ground, including leading clients to the right potential funding source.

The center will help entrepreneurs in the following areas:

  • Needs analysis
  • Business plans
  • Marketing
  • SBA loan packages
  • Counseling

Howard said she's received a lot of interest from south Arkansas as well as other areas of the state.

"There are a lot of positive vibes around this in south Arkansas, but we already have clients in Little Rock also. This program will cover the entire state."

The center was asked by the city of Hot Springs to provide a three-hour training seminar later this summer.

Howard, who teaches entrepreneurship at South Ark, has launched two enterprises herself, the latest a line of interchangeable sterling silver jewelry called "Oh-Snap!" that will be out this summer.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Its resources are available after hours and on weekends by appointment.

Get more information online or by calling Howard at 870-864-8429.