A new Women’s Business Center on Alcorn State University’s campus will be an important new small business resource for women entrepreneurs in Mississippi.
The center is funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration for up to five years at an annual rate of $150,000.
The Women’s Business Center’s mission is to empower women to become entrepreneurs through the education, training and resources the center provides. Alcorn’s center is part of a national network of more than 100 centers, offering one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance and mentoring to women entrepreneurs on numerous business development topics, including business startup, financial management and procurement.
Alfred Galtney, director for research and sponsored programs at Alcorn, said that the SBA Center will be a great resource not only for preparing future businesswomen but also for attracting more students to the university.
“It’s an inspiring opportunity,” Galtney said. “People have been able to survive and do OK with minimal resources. I imagine what this landscape would look like within the next five to 10 years now that resources will be within the grasps of so many southwest Mississippi and Louisiana parish residents. The University could receive more talented students, provide more opportunities for them and begin producing more trailblazers in business.”
Securing the SBA Center on Alcorn’s campus also speaks volumes about HBCUs’ value going forward, Galtney added. He’s excited for Alcorn to lead the charge in changing the landscape of business ownership.
“There is so much talent here. The creativity at and around Alcorn is unmatched,” he said. “Now that the university is bringing entrepreneurial assistance, we could add another purpose to HBCUs and their trajectory.”
The Center provides the potential for an improved economy, and Galtney is confident that entrepreneurs from the center will thrive in the area.
“I believe the Women’s Business Center will remind the younger generation that our ancestors’ ingenuity is not lost,” he said. “I hope that the Center will help our students learn how to create wealth rather than debt. The world will always need and want something, and our students should be the ones giving it to them. This is a wonderful place to live, raise a family and be happy. I believe we will see more businesses being developed and expanded, some small and others that grow into mega-corporations.”
University President Felecia M. Nave expressed excitement about the partnership and its potential to equip the next generation of business leaders.
“Alcorn is very proud of this partnership with SBA to host a Women’s Business Center on our campus,” Nave said. “Our goal is to guide our future women and minority business owners so that they can be staples in improving Mississippi’s economy while building generational wealth for their families. The Center will be ideal for shaping the next generation of successful business owners.”
Galtney applauds Nave for her forward thinking. When she presented the idea to bring entrepreneurial support to Alcorn, Galtney was eager to aid in the pursuit.
“President Nave expressed the importance of entrepreneurship, education, development, training and generational wealth in a region that has been historically underserved for women and minorities,” he said. “She shared with me her vision and objectives she felt would be most impactful based on past ventures and research. Having already identified a location, President Nave said that if I help her build the proposal, then we could lay a foundation that would always stand, no matter the storm.”