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Boosting black female entrepreneurs.

Take advantage of support networks for African American women business owners

Whether your business is in growth mode, the start-up phase, or somewhere in between, there's nothing quite like the help of a good business resource group to help the process along. For African American women seeking help with funding, business plans, networking, expansion, and other strategies, the support options are many and varied.

It's no wonder! According to the SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership (OWBO) in Washington, D.C., women are starting new firms at twice the rate that all other businesses are being started. Women currently own about 9.1 million firms in the U.S. These firms employ 27.5 million and contribute $3.6 trillion to the U.S. economy.

With over 90 centers nationwide, OWBO provides companies with assistance and/or training in finance, management, marketing, and procurement. There's even workshops and mentoring programs, during which the entrepreneur is walked through the basics of running a business from start to finish. "Some finish with a business plan in hand, while others are prepared to go out and start their own enterprises right away," boasts Wilma Goldstein, OWBO'S associate administrator.

"African American women need to go with the flow of new business trends," says Robin L. Douglas, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Westchester and Rockland counties in New York. "We need to teach and learn new buzzwords and work within the definition of those trends."

Bill Edwards, executive director for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), in Arlington, Virginia, concurs that a degree of racial discrimination or stereotyping does persist in the business world, despite the great strides that African American women continue to make. However, he says navigating the stormy waters isn't impossible, thanks to support groups like AEO's Microenterprise Program, which offers lending, training, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs primarily in urban areas with low to moderate incomes.

For women seeking help with their budding or growing businesses, listed above are six national groups, contact information, and a summary of their offerings. Many are based in the Northeast, but most have offices nationwide. Good luck!
Tap these resources and watch your business grow

Association for Enterprise Development (AEO)
1601 North Kent, Suite 1101
Arlington, VA 22209
Phone: 703-841-7760
Fax: 703-841-7748
Offers: Financial assistance, training, and technical
assistance, as well as a menu of services for startup

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
14th St. & Constitution Ave. N.W., Room 5055
Washington, D.C. 20230
Phone: 202-482-4671
Offers: Minority Business Development Centers
(MBDC), Business Resource Centers (BRC), and Minority
Business Opportunity Committees (MBOC) located
nationwide. Each offers a range of business services
to minority entrepreneurs.

National Association of Women Business Owners
1411 K St. N.W., Suite 1300
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 202-347-8686
Fax: 202-347-4130
Offers: Networking and lead opportunities, business
growth and leadership skills, public policy participation.

National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCOC)
1350 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 825
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: 202-466-6888
Fax: 202-466-4918
Offers: Networking, public policy, procurement opportunities,
technical assistance, and e-commerce.

National Minority Business Council Inc. (NMBC)
25 West 45th St., Suite 1007
New York, N.Y. 10036
Phone: 212-997-4753
Fax: 212-997-5102
Offers: Networking, business leads, business assistance,
educational opportunities, seminars, purchasing
exchanges, mentoring, business listings, and
related services.

Office of Women's Business Ownership & Online
Women's Business Center
409 Third St. S.W., 4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20416
Phone: 202-205-6673
Websites: and
Offers: Business training and technical assistance,
access to credit and capital, federal contracts, and
international trade opportunities.
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Article Details
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Author:McCrea, Bridget
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2001
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Next Article:Swimming with the big guys.

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