Organization Helps Women Start Their Own Businesses

In a time when more and more people try to make it on their own in the world of small business, women are becoming a stronger force.  Kathie best had been doing recovery ministries for years when she was let go from her job at a church.  But ministry is what she loves, so she wanted to find a way to keep it going.

"I'm ready to do it on my own and see how far I can go," she said.

That's where the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs, or NACWE, came in.  Founder and President Diane Cunningham started NACWE last year right here in Wichita Falls with the goal to help women connect, create and collaborate.  Kathie sat down with Diane for the first time around new years.

"I explained everything to her and within 55 minutes we had a business plan," Kathie said.

Diane already has more than 150 members of NACWE across the U.S. and some in Canada.  When a new member joins, Diane's 3,000 Facebook contacts get word, and then packets, book, forums, and social networking help the women build up their own businesses.  The economy has contributed to some of the membership trends.

"They could be emerging out of a career field that they don't like anymore or they've been downsized.  Many women have been downsized,"  Diane said.

Kathie not only has a website up and running and plans to meet with the Small Business Development Center, but through word of mouth alone she's found some clientele in a just a few weeks.  Just yesterday she was the speaker at a NACWE luncheon, something she referred to as an honor.

"We may have a different business, but we all have the same goal and we help each other and support each other and encourage each other through this journey," she said.

"There's a power in the numbers.  We're building a tribe of women that are willing to help," Diane said.

NACWE is looking forward to it's 1st anniversary in April with a women's conference in Dallas.  Diane is hoping for at least 100 women to sign up for the weekend event.  So far there are more than 40 people planning to attend from all over the country.