Business

Expo For Women Business Owners Celebrates Twentieth Anniversary

The WBEA 2015 Business EXPO takes place May 27-28 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

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George R. Brown Convention Center

The Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance is preparing for this year’s EXPO, where more than 1,500 women business owners and WBEA members explore sponsorship, exhibitor, and networking opportunities.

The event has gained momentum in recent years as more women become business owners across Greater Houston.

Jane Henry is CEO of Xcution and a member of WBEA.

At any given period, her company maintains a portfolio of up to about a dozen projects at any given period, including a number of them in the oil and gas sector.

She says falling oil prices and layoffs have impacted her company.

Last year, Henry says she had 30 employees. Her company now has a total of 20, with 5 being lost due to lower oil prices.

Despite the rough stretch, she remains optimistic. Henry says the small business model actually becomes more attractive to corporate businesses in tough economic times.

“Even though it’s hard for the industry in general, it’s really important for small businesses to participate,” Henry says. “[Small businesses] can be agile. We can be responsive. Whereas the big companies, they don’t have the money to really invest in hiring a bunch of people for themselves. So they’re going to really look to the small business owners to be able to hire folks and then get them into action.”

This year’s EXPO in May will feature a Business Center that will provide free one-on-one counseling, mentoring and training to help women entrepreneurs not only launch their business but also gain access to funding and create jobs.

Business Center Director Shirley Brooks says hundreds of certified businesses from WBEA have participated in the program, with members contributing an estimated $9 billion to the Houston economy.

“We’ve got 722 women in business that are looking to network with one another, empower one another and support one another,” Brooks says. “So there is a lot of opportunity within the center to not only develop your business, but it’s also to develop relationships, because people will buy from people they like.”

Brooks says even though the center’s focus is to “level the playing field” for women in business, men are also welcomed to take part in these programs.

 

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Eddie Robinson

Eddie Robinson

Morning News Anchor

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus had nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991, Eddie had an extreme passion...

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