Workshop for women hoping to start small businesses scheduled for Thursday

Published 6:55 pm Friday, March 22, 2019

On Thursday, local women will have the opportunity to learn how to start or expand their own small business or micro-business at a Rural Entrepreneurial Orientation and Workshop hosted by the Resource Exchange Consulting Group LLC at 1302 Orchard Hill Road. 

The event will feature conversations about the changing economic landscape for low to moderate-income minority women and how access to local capital, resources and partnerships can impact them. It will focus on artists and makers, but other potential small entrepreneurs are invited to attend.

 “We are encouraging anyone who is starting a business, in business, or thinking about it to come out and hear about these different resources that are available to them,” said Shirley Hines, who is helping to facilitate the event for the region. “I think of this as a west central Georgia [event]. Even though I am a [county] commissioner in Merriweather, my main objective was to get the resources here. I am going to facilitate the meeting, but it is their show.”

Hines is also a small business owner, and she said that she has personally seen the impact that small businesses have on communities. 

Some of the partners at the event will include representatives from the Southeast Association for Micro Enterprises (SAME), ACE Access to Capital of Entrepreneurs and Woodforest National Bank.

“SAME in general works with low to moderate income women, minority women, and they are women with children of the ages 3 to 15,” said Sonya Toomer, the executive regional director of SAME. “With Kellogg [Foundation], the whole goal is to reach the children, and so we established an agreement with our grant to work through the mothers in order to get to the children. So, if you can have the mother in economic stability status, ultimately the children will benefit from it, but also, you can have a mother who is educated. She is groomed and connected to the right resources. She will pass that onto her children because they get to witness it.”

Toomer said the second-year program, which covers the southeast, is expected to reach roughly 1,000 women by the end of its second year. The goal of the program is not only to help women start small businesses, but to show their children that it can be done by allowing them to see a successful small business first-hand.

 “Our goal at the end is actually connecting with these women and bringing in the [minimum distribution option] is to get their product on Etsy,” Toomer said. “At that point, they will be able to sell and get income.”

The group has hosted similar events in Atlanta, but they hope that bringing the event to the midwest Georgia region will encourage entrepreneurs to start small businesses in the region.

The Rural Entrepreneurial Orientation and Workshop will take place at ThINC Academy on 1302 Orchard Hill Road on Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The event costs $20 to attend. For tickets or more information, visit