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SouthArk, Winrock International and the Arkansas Women’s Business Center Offer Classes

Posted on November 20, 2012

Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on November 21, 2012.

Winrock International and the Arkansas Women?s Business Center have announced South Arkansas Community College as a partner to offer an Operation Jump Start class, beginning Jan. 19 in El Dorado, according to a news release from Sherry Howard, director of the Arkansas Women?s Business Center in El Dorado.

She said entrepreneurship is seen by economic developers as one avenue to improve current unemployment numbers by adding jobs through new business development.

The Operation Jump Start Class is designed to help people interested in starting a business to determine if it is feasible before investing money. Participants in the class will receive instruction and assistance from professionals in accounting, marketing and other specialties at no cost other than the tuition.

A reduced tuition of $99 per student and a free workbook will be provided to students due to a grant from the Delta Regional Authority, she said.

Operation Jump Start is funded in part by the Delta Regional Authority ( The DRA, a federal-state partnership, is congressionally mandated to identify and provide economic development investments to the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program the DRA funds regional initiatives like Operation Jump Start with the guiding principal to build communities and improve lives in the Delta Region.

The El Dorado class involves 36 hours of instruction and will meet on various days for six weeks at the South Arkansas Community College East Campus in the Center for Workforce Development. Students who complete the course and their feasibility plan will be eligible for a partial tuition reimbursement.

Anyone interested in taking the class may contact Tara Anglin for an application and schedule by calling 870-864-7192 or go by the Arkansas Women?s Business Center, 404 S. West Ave., to register and pay. Registration and payment may also be made online at Spaces are limited.

"This course will help students know whether their business idea has merit, before they invest their life savings. Students will learn what it actually takes to be a business owner and they will leave the class with a feasibility plan that will help them decide if they should move forward or go back to the drawing board,? said Lynda Richardson, project director.

The program staff is currently looking for sponsors to make a Feasibility Plan Competition possible for graduating students. The competition will be judged by an independent panel of judges, allowing students to win cash prizes to be used in starting their business.

Several levels of sponsorship are available. "My favorite level is the $100 level, allowing people to honor a living or deceased entrepreneur,? said Richardson. The $250 level allows entrepreneurs who have made it to pay it forward by helping others become successful in their businesses. Higher levels are available for corporate sponsorship. People wishing to be sponsors may request a sponsorship package by contacting Richardson at 870-918-8809.

Winrock International is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock, that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources."