Money Monday: Celebrating National Women in Small Business Month
MANDEVILLE, LA (WAFB) - October is "National Women in Small Business Month." It's a time to celebrate and bring awareness to the opportunities for women in the business world.
After nearly a decade of living away from the south, Jennifer Griffith is coming back to the Bayou State.
"I'm from Franklinton and I've lived in Minnesota for nine years," said Griffith. "It's a great state. I love it but it's good to come home to family and friends."
She's also coming back home to start her own business. After years of working in sales, Griffith wanted to do something for herself.
Using her passion for fashion and resources around her like the Small Business Development Center, Griffith put a plan in place to franchise a clothing store called "Mainstream Boutique."
"I sat for six weeks with this wonderful gentleman who worked with me on a five year cost-analysis projection," Griffith said.
"He worked with me on my business plan and it made me realize that suddenly, this is doable."
Bill Joubert, the Center Director for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Louisiana University, says women-owned businesses are far exceeding startups of male-owned businesses around the state. He says they are growing at a rate of 40-45 percent faster than the male startups.
"Traditionally, women have always taken more of a management role and then the husbands or the males would typically be the entrepreneur," Joubert said. "But it seems like there's been a big shift."
Joubert says there is confusion about whether or not women can get tax breaks in Louisiana or incentives to start their own businesses.
"The government doesn't really see women as minorities anymore," Joubert said. "They see them more as a target group so there is not really an incentive unless you are doing government contracting or selling your products to the government. There is a little target window where they want to sell to women."
Joubert says women tend to invest less than men in the beginning, but often have the same success rates with their businesses.
"Women can come in and borrow $20-$30-$50,000 to start a company and they'll be successful," Joubert said. "Men on the other hand…I guess it might be an ego thing but they want to go borrow a million dollars and start a company and they can be very successful. The success rates are almost the same but the men tend to use more capitalization and their companies are bigger. Women-owned companies are very nimble. They are profitable and competitive."
Jennifer Griffith will enter that competition that is the business world on October 15th in Mandeville, where she plans to open her boutique.
"There is a way to do anything you want to do," Griffith said.
"Just come up with the concept. My biggest piece of advice I would say is to look around at resources that are available to you and talk to people. That's how I found out about the Small Business Development Center," Griffith said.
For more information about the Louisiana Small Business Development Center and the free services it provides, go to www.lsbdc.org.
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