A starting point Featured

10:03am EDT July 22, 2002

It's like a library reference desk for women opening, expanding or managing a business in Ohio.

The Women's Business Resource Program, created in 1983 as part of the Ohio Small Business Development Center in the state's Department of Development, identifies the unique needs of women business owners and helps them locate sources of financing, provides direction for purchasing and procurement opportunities with government agencies and private industry, conducts research on women-owned businesses and distributes information on business resources throughout Ohio. In 1987, the program became part of the Ohio Small Business Development Center.

For women starting a business, the program offers a One-stop Business Permit Center where they can request a start-up packet that includes information on the types of licenses and permits that may be needed to start a business in Ohio.

Also available are packets with information about low-interest, business expansion loans available to women who have been in business at least one year.

Other benefits provided by the Women's Business Resource Program include:

  • A calendar of workshops aimed at women entrepreneurs and listings of networking organizations.

  • An affiliation with the Ohio Women's Business Resource Network which, through a consortium of 11 women's business development centers, provides counseling, training and financing to women-owned businesses.

  • Referrals to Ohio Women's Network for Entrepreneurial Training, a statewide network of mentoring programs for women business owners.

  • A directory of nearly 5,000 Ohio women business owners. Last published in 1996, the listing is available on disk for $25. An updated version is expected before the year 2000 and will be distributed free to businesses listed in the directory.

  • A statewide list of Women's Business Enterprise certifying agencies in Ohio.

  • "Market Your Assets: Procurement Opportunities for Women Business Owners." The Department of Development, through this program, provides access to management, technical, financial and procurement assistance; business-related education, training, counseling and information; network listings to identify qualified women-owned businesses; and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise assessment and referrals.

The department markets departmental contract opportunities and provides a listing of procurement opportunities, making referrals to other state agencies and encouraging women-owned businesses to compete for goods and service contracts.

The Women's Business Resource Program provides all the answers under one roof. For more information, contact Nina Cammon at 466-4945.