By: Kathy Smith | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: January 2023
Tulsa’s Historic Greenwood District is once again a thriving community, rebuilding, memorializing and planning for the future. One of the newest additions to the district is the emergence of the Greenwood Women’s Business Center, a center dedicated to assisting individuals hopes of entrepreneurial success a reality.
“The goals of the Greenwood Women’s Business Center are: To be the go-to platform for collaborative programs to expand MWBE business growth; become a “safe” space for MWBEs to share issues and develop solutions; to empower MWBEs and grow multimillion-dollar businesses in Tulsa; address the inequity facing Black and women-owned firms; and to provide business development services and technical assistance to minority- and women-business enterprises (MWBEs),” says Alisa Joesph, VP Director of Programs. “As one of 143 Women Business Centers of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Women Business Ownership, we are appreciative of the support provided by the SBA, the Greenwood Chamber, and the local Tulsa community as we work to serve women (and men) in the area.
“The initiative with Babson College and our local universities has been in the planning stages for about four months,” continues Joesph. “We were working with Langston University, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Tech, University of Tulsa, and Oklahoma State University when the Greenwood Women’s Business Center launched to determine a way to develop curricula for women business owners. Around that time, Babson College contacted us to discuss placing a new Women Innovation Now (WIN) Lab in Greenwood, the third lab that would launch in their program. With the enthusiasm of our colleges, this was a great time to form a collaborative initiative to support diverse women-owned firms. This was truly a partnership from the beginning with the Greenwood WBC, Greenwood Chamber, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) and the universities.
“The new WIN Lab initiative is an example of the type of educational support that will help to drive the myriad of ways we support women business owners,” Joesph explains. “Greenwood WBC provides seminars/webinars, events, symposia, one-on-one business counseling, technical assistance, business resources, certification programs, procurement assistance, equipping the center with state-of-the art equipment, technology, software, e-commerce and digital offerings, and pro-bono services are essential in helping MWBEs move to the next level.”
There are several seminars and events in the near future at the Greenwood Women’s Business Center, all designed to assist in many aspects of a budding business.
“We are working to identify women firms to participate in two accelerator cohorts to launch in the fall - one with Babson College and the other with Walker’s Legacy Foundation,” states Joesph. “We host weekly seminars at the center, in-person and online, to provide much- needed help in the digital space with topics like creating a website, defining your style, best uses of social media, branding and marketing, certification do’s and don’ts, access to capital and a variety of other topics. We are working to host a Women’s Symposium in late fall. You can visit greenwoodwbc.org to register for upcoming webinars and events.”
An organization providing such valuable services does, in turn, require the support of the community.
“As a newly created center by the SBA, it is necessary for us to provide matching dollars to support the ongoing operations and sustainability of the center. Our goal is to see this center in place past the five years of this grant award. That requires monetary support and in-kind donations — Contributions and donations to the program enable us to provide compelling, innovative programming to help MWBEs become first in class. Events, speakers, advertising (paid media, out-of-home, building signage, etc.), campaigns, grants, etc. are sponsorship opportunities. We welcome monetary gifts and other support - just reach out to Donna Jackson at eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.”
Reception of the new Center has been very positive thus far.
“The reception from the local community has been wonderful and extremely supportive,” says Joesph. “We have an advisory committee in place of local leaders committed to service and helping us deliver and expand our programming and partnerships. We’ve been working with local city and state procurement agencies to begin work on procurement opportunities and the OK Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is on-site daily to work with businesses to provide the guidance and assistance they need. We are also working on collaborations with diverse women’s organizations and the Tulsa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to expand our reach into multicultural women-owned firms with their support and assistance.”
The Greenwood Women’s Business Center is located at 102 N. Greenwood Avenue, Suite 200 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For more information, call (539) 867-4127, or visit the website at www.greenwoodwbc.org
102 N. Greenwood Ave., Suite 200
Tulsa, OK 74120
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