rsz_reliant-park-50Reliant Park Hosts Annual Conference for
    Women’s Business Enterprise Annual
    Conference for Women’s Business Enterprise 
    Alliancerise Alliance

A large number of companies today are owned and run by women. The number is growing and at this year’s Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) Annual Conference at Reliant Park on May 15-16 you can see why.

The two day event is held at Reliant Park and will include workshops, a luncheon, trade show and a cocktail reception. This is their premier networking event to explore business partnership opportunities.The keynote speaker will be local publisher Katrina Katsarelis and the luncheon speaker will be litigator and political advisor Nelda Blair.April_Day_4-2011_large

Established in 1995, the WBEA is a nationally recognized purchasing council and its’ purpose is to serve women owned businesses by creating new jobs and opportunities and fostering entrepreneurialism. Houston based, WBEA serves 94 counties in Texas with programs to support and promote women owned enterprises. In order to be certified the business must be 51% or more owned by a woman to meet the criteria for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council located in Washington DC.

In addition to the conference the WBEA hosts community events to help women seek employment in addition to hosting training opportunities. They have also awarded over $34,000 in executive scholarships to advance training for women in business.

The WBEA’s president is April Day and is chaired by Otto Myers,lll, general manager of regional projects for the Shell Oil Company. Sponsors include Exxon Mobil, HEB, Exxon Mobil, MD Anderson, Phillips 66, Shell, and CenterPoint Energy and the City of Houston, to name a few.

Words of Wisdom from April Day, WBEA President:

What advice would you give to a woman or young lady when trying to start her own business?

1. Form a business entity. Formalizing a business will protect the personal assets of the owners and provide legitimacy. Don’t wait until your business becomes successful.

2. Identify your resources. The SBA has resources centers that provide free consultations. The WBEA serves as host to one of the SBA resource centers. The Houston Galveston Women’s’ Business Center provides free consultations and free or reduced coast trainings to help launch, grow and sustain your business.

3. Develop your business plan. Your business plan becomes the operational road map for your business. The plan should lay the groundwork for organizational structure, marketing plan, staffing, and financial projections.

4. Protect your intellectual property. Most businesses maintain trade secrets, and almost every business uses one or more trademarks to establish the brand. Protection of your branding and ideas are critical to long-term success of the business.

5. Develop your advisor relationships: Having a good banker , attorney, and accountant that specialize in small business. Professional advising can help avoid common mistakes while launching a business.

Do you have any statistics regarding the number of women owned businesses there are and some projections going forward?

According to the American Express Open research, the number of women-owned businesses are growing at 1½ times the national average. Texas ranks second in the number of women-owned businesses, with Houston coming in second in growth and economic clout.

Who should attend the WBEA conference?

Anyone interested in starting a business or growing their current business. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your products and services during the business EXPO. If you are interested in growing your network, the workshops and networking reception are key opportunities. This year, we are excited to have Mayor Annise Parker join us for the networking reception.