Small Home Businesses Growing for Women and Minorities


Woman at Work

Home may be where the heart is but it's also where the start is for many women and minorities. Start-up business, that is.

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, in 1996 women-owned small and home offices constituted one of the fastest growing business sectors with eight million such companies generating nearly 2.3 trillion dollars in sales. Minority-owned businesses increased 62 percent from 1987-1992, the last years the U.S. Census Bureau made this information available.

Priscilla Huff, author of 101 Best Home Based Businesses for Women, credits technology for making this emancipation possible: "Advances in computers, fax machines and other office equipment enable average people to set up affordable home offices."

"New small business owners have the liberty of starting fresh," says Jeff Hopper, Small Business/Small Office manager of Hewlett-Packard Company. Hopper continues, "As these professionals learn that products specifically designed for them can make their business more successful, they put them into practice immediately."

For example, using precision printers and scanners in conjunction with a PC, small businesses can create professional-looking presentations and marketing materials on par with those of larger companies at a fraction of the cost. The HP DeskJet 870Cse printer for less than $500 prints four color pages a minute for $.08 per sheet, compared with the $1.00-$1.50 often charged by service bureaus. Since time is money, you can also save both by cutting out trips to the copy shop.

Add a modem, and PCs become a doorway to the world. Numerous private and public sector organizations which back the business efforts of women and minorities can be found online.

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers counseling, training and technical assistance through district offices and local small business development centers. A pre-qualification loan program helps minorities and women access start-up capital of up to $250,000.

Getting wired gives women and minorities the edge needed to cut through stereotypes and compete in the global market.

"I can be judged by my work, by the corporate image I choose to project, rather than my race or gender," says Roswitha Marin who believes personal computing helped make her textile design company more successful. "Too often, we are judged by standards unrelated to our work."

Other websites for women and minority business owners include:

Black Enterprise: www.blackenterprise.com/

National Minority Business Council: www.nmbc.org

Women in Business: www.FoDreams.com/


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