Serving entrepreneurs living and working in New York’s Westchester County or Mid-Hudson Valley, the Women’s Enterprise Development Center is a nonprofit micro-enterprise development program that helps women in all stages of business development position themselves for success. Originally known as the Women’s Enterprise Project, the organization’s initial mission was to help underserved women achieve economic self-sufficiency, with a special focus on women transitioning off public assistance, displaced homemakers and Latinas.
In 2002, the name of the organization changed to the Women’s Enterprise Development Center, and one year later it became the SBA-designated women’s business center for Westchester County and the Lower Hudson Valley. Since then, WEDC has extended its outreach to women entrepreneurs in all stages of business development, from those just starting out to established business owners who need guidance, education and/or financial assistance. Additionally, the organization continues to support programs for underserved women with specialized needs, including women over 50, women affected by domestic violence, displaced workers and veterans.
Since 2008, WEDC has also been a designated Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) Center. Although its focus is on women business owners, all service offered by WEDC are also open to men.
Women’s Enterprise Development Center Programs
WEDC offers entrepreneurs in Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Valley a number of programs and services that can help them build business success. These include:
Entrepreneurial Training Programs
Set in various locations throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley and Westchester County, WEDC’s entrepreneurial training programs offer 60+ hours of comprehensive business training, starting with how to write a business plan and the basics of owning and operating a small business. A perfect starter course for newbies to the business world, the programs provide instruction in areas such as:
- Choosing a business structure
- Profit and Loss statements, cash flow and budgeting, and balance sheets
- Management and organizational skills
- Business technology
- Business insurance
- Market research and marketing skills
- Using the internet and social media
- Business presentation skills
Additionally, class sizes are limited to just 25 participants, and the fee for the entire program is just $300. Scholarships are also available for those with limited financial resources.
Business Growth Accelerator Program
In partnership with the NYS Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, WEDC offers a Business Growth Accelerator Program for certified MWBEs. The program offers hands-on technical support related to developing RFPs, navigating the procurement process and preparing bids.
Micro-Manufacturing: Groundwork to Grow
A program for established businesses with a physical product, the Micro-Manfacturing program includes seven sessions focused on manufacturing, product development and enhancing profitability. Classes meet twice a month for 3 hours, and the price of the entire program is just $175. The next session runs from March through June 2019, and is being held at the New York International Plaza in New Windsor, New York.
Path to Entrepreneurship
The free, two-hour Path to Entrepreneurship program provides new entrepreneurs an overview of small business ownership, including the advantages and disadvantages of owning a business, developing a business idea and creating a business plan. January sessions will be held in Mt. Vernon, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh on January 29th, 30th and 31st respectively. (See the WEDC events calendar for locations and times.
WEDC can help interested business owners learn more about MWBE Certification in New York State. For more information, contact Veronica Bazan at the Westchester office at 914-948-6098 ext. 14, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the Mid-Hudson region, contact Cynthia Marsh-Croll at 845-363-6432, or via email at email@example.com.
Women’s Enterprise Development Center Services
In addition to educational programs, WEDC offers a number of financial services that help female entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. These include:
In collaboration with the Business Outreach Center and BOC Capital Corp., WEDC helps clients obtain $500 to $50,000 microloans to grow their businesses. BOC Capital Corp. is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and a certified Community Development Entity (CDE) with a special focus on women, minority and immigrant entrepreneurs.
Additionally, WEDC partners with Kiva Zip, an online, interest free crowdfunding site, and is authorized to recommend clients for loans of up to $2,500.
The WEDC Scholarship Program
Thanks to a grant from Eileen Fisher, WEDC offers a limited number of scholarships to WEDC clients who wish to pursue subjects related to their industry. These are generally in small amounts of between $200 and $400. Interested entrepreneurs can download an application here.
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