Throughout the cities and rural areas of Texas, women who want to start or scale a business know where to turn for advice, training, and resources. Since 2015, the Texas Woman’s University (TWU) Center for Women Entrepreneurs (CWE) has empowered women entrepreneurs both inside and outside the TWU system. Every year, CWE works with an average of 400 to 500 clients.
At the heart of the CWE AccelerateHER Program, Director Tracy Irby helps women entrepreneurs not only by drawing on her experience as a business owner, but by relying on the pitching, planning, and forecast tools in LivePlan.
“In small business advising, we recommend LivePlan as part of growing a business, or learning and understanding what kind of business they’re going to start,” says Tracy.
Along with training and advising programs, CWE offers small business grants for entrepreneurs. While access to resources is important to helping women entrepreneurs establish their business, Tracy and her team know that money isn’t everything. Time and again, Tracy has seen how writing a business plan helps entrepreneurs better understand their vision, the realities of the industry, and more importantly, have a clear view of the challenges and opportunities ahead.
CWE doesn’t just encourage people to write a business plan. It requires one as part of their grant fulfillment process. CWE gives half the money up front, and the other half once the entrepreneur has completed three hours of small business advising, and had their full business plan reviewed.
“They have to plan out three years of financials,” Tracy says. “If we don’t give them education and just give them money, we’re not really helping them.”