New center helping women's businesses grow

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In Virginia, women are starting new businesses 1.5 times more often then men, according to the Small Business Administration. That's why the SBA just opened the Center for Women's Enterprise, to help women grow their companies and overcome challenges.

Growing a business can be like running an obstacle course.

Cindy Briggs is the owner of All Dog Adventures, a dog boarding and training facility. She wants to build a new, bigger dogplex, where she can eventually triple the business and staff.

"I've had this vision of a dogplex that has everything in it," she told us.

Briggs' obstacle was getting the capital, a loan, to build it and didn't know where to turn. "I would be discouraged because there wasn't anybody there to answer my questions."

But now the SBA'S Center for Women's Enterprise is helping her qualify for a loan.

"I went in with my business plan and Sarah looked over those numbers and asked me questions about those numbers, so I could solidify that," she explained.

The Center for Women's Enterprise is sharing office space and has partnered with a non-profit, the REDC Community Capital Group, which provides financing and services to local small businesses.

"If people growing their businesses aren't surrounded by the resources and the knowledge of how to grow that business, the chances for success diminish rapidly," said Sarah Williams, Director of the Center for Women's Enterprise.

Women can contact the Center to receive free assistance in getting what they call the three C's: capital, counseling, and certification.

"A woman came to me and said no one has ever explained to me how to get a loan," Said Williams. "I think it's men too, not just women. But if we can dramatically change that issue and open up the flood gates of capital, the numbers are incredible about job creation."

Briggs says the Center is already helping her and All Dog Adventures jump over hurdles.

"Oh my gosh, just the information! Because I can say now, 'What do I do next? When I leave this meeting, what do you want me to do?' They give me one, two, three and I go and I can do that," she told us.

Women entrepreneurs can contact the Center at 780-3024 or visit the office at 411 E. Franklin Street in Richmond.

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