JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Jackson State University (JSU) is offering a new program that helps local women grow their business and apply for federal funding.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) announced in January 2021 that grant funding would create 20 new women’s business centers across the country. One of those locations is inside the College of Business at JSU. The Women’s Business Center (WBC) offers one-on-one counseling, training, networking and mentoring.

“We try to teach them how to access capital and how to do government contracting. It’s also important that they know how to write a business plan if they’re just starting a small business,” said WBC Director Sydney Brown.

The program officially began on Friday, February 4, but Brown said they’ve been helping small business owners for months before the official launch.

“We have been serving women entrepreneurs since August. We’ve done several workshops that were geared toward women entrepreneurs. Our goal is to assist women entrepreneurs in starting, growing and expanding their small business,” said Brown.

The center has about 150 active, female entrepreneurs of color. Small businesses of all kinds are encouraged to join the free program.

“We’re here in the Jackson metro area, and we’re particularly serving women of color. We have engineers, we have health care providers and we have physicians that come to this program,” said Brown.

To join the program, business owners must own and control at least 51% of their business. Nonprofits are not eligible.