Long Weaver, Sandra. “Center Teaches Women Formula for Success.” Diverse Issues in Higher Education 4 Jul. 2015: Page(s). http://diverseeducation.com/article/76110/. Web. 10 Jul. 2015.
NASHVILLE — If it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any field, as some experts suggest, Mildred Walters is an expert three times over for building successful small businesses. She brings more than 31,000 hours to her position as program director for the Pathway Women’s Business Center. She came out of retirement to take the job in February 2015, and already 168 women have come to the center for counseling or classes. Walters was previously the director of the Nashville Business Incubation Center and has taught at Tennessee State University.
The Women’s Business Center is an initiative of Pathway Lending, a 501(c)3 company that serves women and minorities. “The mission of Pathway Lending is to work with an underserved market that may not have been able to get loans in commercial markets,” Walters said.
In 2014, Pathway Lending submitted a proposal to the Small Business Administration to expand its work in underserved communities. The grant was awarded in October 2014, and Walters came on as director earlier this year.
“There is a strict separation between the lender and the women’s center,” Walters said. The goal of the Women’s Business Center is to help women “create strong structures for their businesses, so their businesses can grow,” Walters said. There are 110 women’s business centers in the country, including one in Chattanooga.
Amy Bunton, president of the Women’s Center, primarily raises funds for the center. But this year, the center is “friend-raising,” by not charging fees for courses and other support this year.
Since the beginning of June, the center has offered a one-day course on writing a business plan, as well as a six-week course on the entrepreneurial myth. A class of 10 women is reading The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber and discussing “why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it.”