JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A story of survival has inspired Almesha Campbell, assistant vice president for economic research and development at Jackson State University, to succeed and encourage other women to do the same.
“Being a young child growing up, being very poor and seeing how my mother made something out of nothing… She sewed our clothes, and she cooked food, and the food lasted for days that we didn’t even know.”
That’s where JSU’s new Women’s Business Center comes in, which opened in January.
“It’s funded by the Small Business Administration and it’s primarily funded to support women entrepreneurs in the city of Jackson and surrounding areas and it promotes economic development in the state of Mississippi.”
Sydney Brown is the director of the center and agrees that the center is an essential tool to support and help women launch the businesses of their dreams.
He says the center also provides business services such as one-on-one counseling, training, networking, free workshops and technical assistance for women seeking federal contract dollars for their small businesses.
“We can offer them our expertise, and they don’t have to travel and pay for the service. For example, if someone needs help with a business plan, someone in the private sector can charge them $1,000 and $2,000 to do a business plan, but we offer our services free of charge.
Campbell and Brown say the successes are multiplying.
“We’ve helped people who want to start child care centers,” Brown said. “We have helped people who wanted to open small private schools. We even help doctors start a business, so we help a lot of different businesses started by women, and they come to us for help.
Campbell and Brown hope that this center will not only help women realize their dream of entrepreneurship, but also support it.
“When a woman starts a business, it gives her generational wealth that she can pass on to her children and grandchildren. It’s another fact that when you start a small business, you help people build communities, and they buy houses, they buy cars, so it increases the tax base for the city of Jackson and Mississippi.
“When you look at women like Madame CJ Walker, and you look at what she has done to become such a successful entrepreneur, we know of many women in our community who make their own hair products, they make their own clothes , they make their own stuff, but they don’t understand the business side of how it works. These women were making history long before we knew anything about Women’s History Month. Here we are. , we are trying to legitimize these businesses and the passion of these women was to ensure that they have sustainable businesses and are able to have generational wealth within their communities,” Campbell said.
The center is open Monday through Friday inside the College of Business Center located on the third floor of Suite 332 on the JSU campus from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information, please call 601-979-4186.
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