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Online Center Helps Women Start and Build a Business

By Susan Byers

What Customers Are Saying

"I've spent literally hours visiting your website, and I want to thank you for making it such a comprehensive resource. You've saved me hours of work and hours of research."
--Jan Kostielmay
Owner, JK Enterprises (Indiana)

"Who writes your website stuff?" This information is top drawer."
--A. J. Campbell
Electronic Commerce Task Force

"I discovered your site by accident÷But I am glad I did. Your site has so much valuable and absolutely FREE information that's just what I have been looking for."
--Choy Song

"Personally I feel it's worth to share with all, over here in this part of the world-Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, we share the same language."
--Name withheld on request

February 8, 1999

If you are a woman who owns a business or dreams of starting one, the SBA's Office of Women's Business Ownership is eager to help. OWBO offers a wide array of programs and resources, many as close as your fingertips.

In an age of globalization, technology and diversity, OWBO is leading the way. Our Online Women's Business Center, launched only a few months ago, has already received well over 2 million "hits" by visitors from 100 countries around the world. "This is exciting news," said Sherrye Henry, director of the Office of Women's Business Ownership. "We are reaching women of all ages and from every walk of life everywhere, and helping them change their lives for the better."

The Online WBC is an interactive, state-of-the-art web site that offers virtually everything you need to start and build a successful business, including online training, mentoring, individual counseling, topic forums and newsgroups, market research, and information on all of the SBA's programs and services, plus links to countless other resources. Access the Online Women's Business Center..

The OWBC trains and counsels women using the expertise of SBA's 70 Women's Business Centers located nationwide. SBA built this web site with help from some of today's best-known corporations: IBM, JC Penney, NationsBank, GTE, and Avon.

The Online WBC has been getting some interesting requests for assistance recently. These queries highlight not only the incredible need for this kind of information around the world and the variety of businesses we can help, but also the spirit that drives this office, our representatives in the field, and our women's business centers nationwide.

Within just two weeks, we received requests from a computer expert in India who wants to start an at-home business and two 12 year-old girls who want to share profits from baby-sitting and crafts. We also had a request from a group of four Maphuche women from Chile who want to "market, promote and rescue our traditional cuisine through a food and beverage service in authentic tradition ÷to maintain ÷ the essential cultural identity of our people, as well as ÷to generate added income for our families without impacting our culture÷"

We put the woman from India in touch with a mentor to help her develop her business. Susan Davis, director of the Center for Women Entrepreneurs at the Columbia College for Women, is helping the two girls develop a business plan (the center already works with students, grades K-12, in South and North Carolina). And Joy Vilardi de Camacho, project director of the Women's Business Institute in San Juan, P.R., volunteered to help the Maphuche women, and to get Spanish-language literature to them.

One of the primary obstacles to international exchanges is-or was-language. To begin to overcome that barrier, the Online WBC is now available in Spanish.

For More Information

Wherever you are in pursuit of your dream, whether you own a business that is poised to grow, are struggling with management or technology issues, or are simply exploring the possibilities, SBA is ready-and eager-to help. Visit the Online Women's Business Center or our home page.. You may also call your local SBA district office (in the phone book under U.S. Government), or phone us at 202-205-6673.

About the Author

Susan Byers is in charge of Publications Outreach for the Office of Women's Business Ownership at the Small Business Administration in Washington, DC.