Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Business Center Inspires Female Entrepreneurs

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Business Center Inspires Female Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

The troubled economy hit her public relations and advertising firm hard, dropping her client base to four companies when she had a staff of 14 people to pay. Her husband was working in Iraq as a helicopter contractor, and she was caring for a pre-teen autistic child.

Crowe fell - but into the support net of a group that got her back on her feet. She is active with the Women's Business Center, a program of Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma Inc., which has offices in Oklahoma City and Durant. The Women's Business Center, while active in training and referrals, also nurtures and inspires female entrepreneurs as they balance work and family every day.

For Crowe, the group was exactly what she needed.

"When I walked into my meeting with these ladies, I was about as depressed as I could have been about my business," Crowe said. "Then these brave, wonderful women started throwing out ideas, references and referrals. They had such great ideas for me. One referred a potential client to me that ended up becoming the biggest client I've ever had in my firm.

"When I walked out of that meeting, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a turning point. I think there is a definitive moment in every life where you say, 'I turned the corner.' "

Crowe owns Itancan Inc., an American Indian-operated public relations and advertising firm in Midwest City. Itancan - which is Lakota for "iron woman" or "she who gives wise counsel" - is her entrepreneurial dream, and when it began slipping away, she held on by refusing to take a paycheck so she could continue paying her consulting employees around the country.

With the Women's Business Center, she not only found practical help for her business, but kind and nurturing feedback, she said.

"There are not a lot of resources out there for women business owners," she said, "and one of our biggest struggles is finding balance between family responsibilities, relationships, home and business. I would talk to my husband by video every night, but I didn't want to talk over and over about what was going on with my business. …

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