“WOMO” program is supporting small businesses in Sherman

Calling all women and minority entrepreneurs.
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 10:41 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - Calling all women and minority entrepreneurs.

WOMO stands for Women-owned businesses and Minority-owned businesses. The Sherman Economic Development Corporation had a kick-off event for the program in January 2023. “[They] had 84 business owners attend, which was phenomenal, and through that [they] were able to ask lots of questions and survey them and find out their needs and their wants, which is mainly the typical need of most business owners. So needing funding, needing people, how to get people, how to keep people, how to get customers, how to keep customers, all marketing things. So we were able to take that information and plan out our year ahead of how can [they] support them,” said SEDCO chief administrative officer, Ashton Bellows.

The mission is to increase the number and size of these businesses, so SEDCO is offering valuable resources. “[They] have a lot of contacts and [they] have our personal time, and [they] could put them together and [they] can share those resources and hope to get them in touch with the people who maybe can help get them that funding.”

Bellows said the WOMO dream was born, coming out of the pandemic, when they evaluated community needs. She said they cannot provide the funds, so they are finding other ways to help. “[They’ve] created quarterly small group breakout sessions. This is about 10 to 12 business owners getting together in a more intimate setting where they can really share who they are and what they do and what they need. And then they get to talk across the table and share resources and it’s an amazing thing [they’ve] seen also [they] are doing workshops on all those topics that they said they had needs for. [They’re] creating of quarterly workshops and [their]first one is a marketing social media workshop and it’s in October and then [they’re] going to have [their] first big annual event in January. So we’re very excited about all the things we’ve got planned.”

Matthew Almazan and his wife started their business, Clean Streak Inc., in January 2023. He said that WOMO has helped the business in many ways. They’ve “been able to plug [them] into critical resources for learning how to build [their] company. They were able to connect [them] with someone at the college who was able to help [them] work on [their] business plan to make sure that [they] had good foundations for [their] strategies, good foundations for [their] marketing. So they were able to plug [them] into that resource. They have sent [them] to the Governor’s small business summit as well. So even that had great resources for [them] as well. Learning how to manage social media and all the different aspects of being a business owner. They’ve kind of helped [them] become better rounded off and not so ignorant to all the different facets that [they] really need to navigate as business owners,” he said.

Almazan advises minorities and women that are entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunity.

“There’s nothing to lose from it. There’s only the opportunity to gain some knowledge, gain some insight, or make a useful networking connection.”

“If businesses want to get involved and they’re not sure if they qualify or they’re not know if there’s any of our programs, or if they just want to know who SEDCO is and what we do, they’re more than welcome to call our office or stop by our office, and we would love to visit with them and chat with them. And if it’s something that we’re not able to help with, we don’t ever let anybody leave without a connection. So they’re going to have a resource when they leave in some way, somehow,” said Bellows.

To attend the next workshop in October, signup for the WOMO directory at SEDCO.ORG.