Area women invited to participate in Women: Inspired! Next Steps Small Business Development Program

CAFCA | July 16, 2014 |

 The Access Community Action Agency is inviting women to participate in its Women: Inspired! Next Steps program in support of low-income women who would like to start or grow small businesses. The program is inviting low-income women to participate in the program as "Entrepreneurs," and established local business women to participate as "Mentors." The program is free to all participants and will run from May to September 2014.

Entrepreneurs will have access to a series of supports that will help them along in the "next steps" of their business development journeys, with mentors playing a key role in guiding them along the way. Supports include action planning to set manageable goals with guidance from an experienced employment support specialist, the ability to access and share local and online business development resource connections, and enrollment in the Women: Inspired! Networking Group (WING), a mentoring and skills-sharing program that will help Entrepreneurs gain experience, earn professional references, and begin to build a consumer base for their products and services.

Finally, Entrepreneurs will be invited to apply to the Women: Inspired! Next Steps Fund for a limited number of small grants to pay for eligible expenses toward pursuing their business goals, including costs associated with education, licensing, business support services, equipment, etc.

All programming is coordinated by the Windham Area Hour Exchange. Funding for this program came from the Windham Area Women & Girls Fund via the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut.

Women interested in participating in the program as Entrepreneurs or Mentors are invited to attend a Kick Off Meeting on Thursday, May 22 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Access Community Action Agency, 1315 Main Street., Willimantic. Registration for this event by May 20 is recommended.

To register to participate in Women: Inspired! Next Steps, to attend the Kick Off Meeting, or for more information, please contact Kate Fortier, director of Volunteer Engagement at or 860-450-7400, ext. 7458 or Stephanie Kaczowski, coordinator at or 860-450-7400, ext. 7482.

The Access Community Action Agency is the federal and state designated anti-poverty agency for Windham and Tolland Counties. For more information about Access's services, call 860-450-7400 in the Willimantic area, 860-412-1600 in the Danielson area, or visit