Executive Director for the Women’s Collaborative Mentoring Program, Gail Lara:
From 1 to 10, where are you in your business? Do you need finances? Do you need legal? Do you need your license? We’ve actually have found women in business with no license.
I do see a lot of women with the same challenges, but I take each business based on what they need instead of “Here’s a program, follow it.” I find out through an assessment of what is it that you specially need.
What are you good at and what are you not good at? Because those are the people you need to connect with. You also need industry specific programs such as if you are in the clothing industry. It’s completely different than if you are in the food industry. So you need two different types of training for that. The markups are different. The programs are different. So we really look for industry specific training and we tailor what is needed and that’s where we provide the services. That’s what makes this unique. It isn’t just another workshop. It’s about what do you need and how do we put it in place for you?
We work with all of the different business development programs so that they can send (as the next step), after they give them a workshop. So some of them are startups, the majority are one or two years in business.
And because what we have is here is the the grant one person will get that. But what happens to the 99 or 100-something that apply for it and don’t get it.
We put them through a directive training to support all of our different business development leaders to put them in programs that they have to offer and that’s why we’re working together to help build an infrastructure to support the needs of women in business. Why the assessment is so key is because we really need to get to know where they’re at. From 1 to 10, where are you in your business? Do you need finances? Do you need legal? Do you need your license? We’ve actually have found women in business with no license. And that’s where you send them to that entity program that will help them that day and put it in place. There’s a lot of little steps that they don’t realize they don’t know or don’t have until you start really digging deep into where they are at. So that for me (the assessment piece) is key.
We have women come to us that are barely out of…not even a high school diploma. We have women come to us that are lawyers, with a Master’s. I even have some that are doctors and they all have the same thing. They have an inspiration, an idea, they want to serve. Women always want to give and serve. But they don’t really know what their next step is. And the key here is to really know who you are serving, to know who your client is and to build your program around what is needed.
You know so many times as entrepreneurs, it’s an idea in their head and they think if they just had enough money they would be successful. But it’s not as easy as “Here’s an idea, put up a website.” You must take the time to develop the market segmentation in between. That’s the key, to develop your business around your clients.
About Gail Lara:
Gail Lara is Director of the Women’s Collaborative Mentoring Program (WCMP) at The Valley Economic Alliance (TVEA). Gail offers over fifteen years of experience in small business development, training, and as a business owner. The Women’s Collaborative Mentoring Program (WCMP) under the The Valley Economic Alliance (TVEA) offers mentoring grants to serve the Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) community.
Our goal is to help women achieve $150k in annual revenue and prepare her for funding.
Mission: To position underserved women entrepreneurs to thrive by providing customized mentoring to achieve sustainable business growth.
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