JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – A story of survival has inspired Almesha Campbell, Assistant Vice President for Economic Research and Development at Jackson State University, to be successful and encourage other women to do the same.
“Being a young child growing up, being very poor and seeing how my mom made something out of nothing… She sewed our clothes, and she cooked food, and food would last for days that we didn’t even know.”
That’s where the new Women’s Business Center at JSU comes in, which opened in January.
“It is funded by the small business administration and it’s funded to basically to support women entrepreneurs in the city of Jackson and the surrounding areas and it promotes economic development within the state of Mississippi.”
Sydney Brown is the director of the center and agrees that this center is a vital tool in supporting and helping women launch their dream businesses.
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 our expertise to them, and they don’t have to go out 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 get a business plan done, but we provide our services free of charge.”
Campbell and Brown say the success stories are rolling in.
“We’ve helped people who want to start daycare centers,” Brown said. “We have helped people who want to start private small schools. We are even helping physicians to start a business, so we’re helping a lot of different businesses started by women, and they’re coming to us to get assistance.”
Campbell and Brown hope this center will not only help women achieve their dream of entrepreneurship but also sustain it.
“When a woman starts a business, it provides them with generational wealth that they can pass along to their kids and grandkids. 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 in Mississippi.”
“When you look at women like Madam CJ Walker, and you look at what she did in order to become such a successful entrepreneur, we know many women within 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 this runs. Those 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 had to make sure that they have sustainable businesses, and they are able to have generational wealth within their communities,” said Campbell.
The center is open Monday through Friday inside the College of Business center located on the third floor in Suite 332 on the campus of JSU from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
For more information, please call 601-979-4186.
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