Established on April 1st 2016, Chatham's Women's Business Center (CWBC) is funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide services geared specifically to women and underserved populations, minority entrepreneurs and veterans throughout Western PA. CWBC offers aspiring and existing business owners free business counseling, training programs, technical support and mentoring focused on business planning and financing, access to capital, federal contracting, and business expansion through international markets and exporting.
CWBC designs and implements programs and services that are geared specifically to women in underserved communities and the challenges they face in starting, growing, and succeeding in business. The programs are structured to meet the needs of regional communities, are offered with the assistance of local partnering organizations in those communities, and are provided at no or minimal cost to the participants within the 11 surrounding counties in Western PA.
With the support of 17 community partners and economic development agencies, CWBC has offered 101 training programs since opening its doors in April 2016 through February 2018, including 6-week entrepreneurial training programs, half-day workshops, webinars, and seminars on topics including financing a business, digital marketing, traditional marketing, accounting, exporting, certification, legal issues, hiring employees, veteran business ownership, and business startup, growth, and new product/service development. Through these programs, CWBC has served over 1410 women entrepreneurs with 217 training hours.
CWBC also offers free business counseling hours at its location in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh and off-site in the community to startup and established women entrepreneurs. CWBC also provides online and telephone counseling sessions. CWBC offers face-to-face counseling hours to women from underserved communities once a month at the Hill CDC office in the Hill District, and at the Diversity Business Resource Center, on Pittsburgh's North Side. CWBC also collaborates with Paramount Co-op and Co-Working Space to offer counseling once a month in Ambridge, Beaver County, PA, and with Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber at their offices in Wexford, PA. In addition to general business counseling, CWBC offers monthly technical assistance counseling in the areas of Digital Marketing, Accounting, Legal, Diversity Certifications, and Human Resources.
From April 2016 to February 2018, CWBC has provided 987 hours of counseling to 468 clients, which has directly contributed to 82 new businesses and $3.8M in raised capital through a combination of equity, SBA loans, and private loans.