The Access Community Action Agency was recently awarded $4,000 from the Windham Area Women & Girls Fund to finance a Women Inspired: Next Steps program aimed at supporting low-income women in pursuing entrepreneurship. Funds will be used to provide follow-up business advancement support to participants of a March 2013 Women: Inspired! Breakfast event held by the Northeast Connecticut Economic Alliance (Alliance) and funded by the Women & Girls Fund.
Women: Inspired! Next Steps will award small grants to help women entrepreneurs with eligible expenses that move them toward their career and business goals. They will also be able to enroll in the Women: Inspired! Networking Group (WING), a business colleagueship and mentorship program through Access’s Windham Area Hour Exchange, and will have access to the Women: Inspired! Resource Connection, which will help them develop action plans and connect to resources in support of their business development.
The March 2013 Women: Inspired! Breakfast event provided a no-cost opportunity for 22 women with dreams of entrepreneurship to network with over 30 local, established business and community women and hear inspiring stories by featured guest speakers. Of the 22 participants, nine were able to take advantage of scholarships provided to participate in a four-part small business development course series at Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) called “How to Start a Small Business.” Funds for scholarships were provided by a combination of Windham Area Women and Girls Fund sponsorship, donations, and monies raised through registration fees paid by the established business women who attended. The Women: Inspired! Next Steps program will continue to support these participants in reaching their business goals.
The Access Community Action Agency is the federal and state designated anti-poverty agency for Windham and Tolland Counties. Access provides food, emergency shelter, energy assistance, energy conservation services, job and life skills training, youth mentoring, group homes, senior housing and more for low-income families and individuals. For more information about Access’ services, call (860) 450-7400 in the Willimantic area, (860) 412-1600 in the Danielson area, or visit www.accessagency.org.