Women's Business Centers in Okla. Receive Federal Funding

Article excerpt

Three Women's Business Centers in Oklahoma will get their share of $5.1 million the U.S. Small Business Administration is distributing among 34 Women's Business Centers nationwide.

The money will be used to help educate women to be better entrepreneurs.

The Terry Neese Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence in Oklahoma City, the WBC operated by the Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity in Norman, and the Rural Women's Business Center run by Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma in Durant will each get $150,000 this year, as will each of the other 31 Women's Business Centers.

We're going to continue to do what we've done before with the funds: help women become successful entrepreneurs, said Iola Hayden, executive director of Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity. The WBC program, established by Congress in 1988, provides training, counseling and mentoring services to women business owners.

The SBA program provides five years of funding for new Women's Business Centers. All three of Oklahoma's WBCs were first funded in 2001. Congress appropriated $12.5 million to the WBC program for the years 2003 and 2004. After the centers receive their allocation for this year, the program will still have just over $2 million left, which may be used to start a few new centers, said Cecelia Taylor at SBA.

Each WBC is required to match a portion of the funds with private contributions, and to tailor their programs to the communities they serve. The centers may be located in urban, suburban or rural areas, and direct many of their services toward economically disadvantaged women. Programs offered address a wide variety of needs, from financial management to marketing and technical assistance, Internet training and more.

The Terry Neese Center, also known as Institution Programs Inc. …