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Durham center helps women start businesses

Posted February 27, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— During these tough economic times, some people are looking for ways to make money by starting their own businesses.

Interest in seminars at the Women’s Business Center of North Carolina has more than doubled in the last year, the center’s director, Joyce Siler, said.

“A lot of them have been laid off from their jobs, possibly two or three times,” Siler said.

ECenter helps women test business waters ECenter helps women test business waters

The center walks clients through the steps of starting their own businesses. The seminars are free.

“They find out the areas you need help in and then they point you in the right direction on where to go for the help,” client Chaundra Smith said.

About a year ago, Smith came to the center for help with her Web design business. She said the advice helped her grow her business even in a bad economy.

Business consultant Katie Gailes said the center helped her so much that she now takes part as a teacher in some seminars to encourage people to take advantage of what she sees as an opportunity.

“In reality, this is the best time to plan. It’s the best time to market. You need to get out there and meet your customers – take advantage of this breather,” Gailes said.

Siler said the center’s goal is to keep clients motivated and inspired.

The Women's Business Center was established in 2000 as a partnership between the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration. There are locations in Durham, Fayetteville and Asheville.

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