A recent study ranks Mississippi as the fifth fastest growing state for women-owned businesses. According to the report, the number of businesses owned by women has doubled in the last three years. Cindy Ward, the Project Director at the Women’s Business Center, says, "Entrepreneurship is the new women's movement." The Women’s Business Center at the Climb C.D.C. opened less than two months ago. According to Ward, the center has already received hundreds of phone calls from women interested in starting or growing a business. Ward also says, "I am not surprised at all. Based on what we've seen, the activity we've seen just since the Women's Business Center opened in February, we are training over 40 women. Within the first few days, we had women coming in in droves."
Ungela Lock was one of those women. She came to the Women's Business Center to grow her rental company, B-Wize. Lock says, "I have six girls, so one of the reasons I wanted to do this as well is to show them that they don't have to be stuck in a box, that they can look outside of the box and be business owners themselves." B-Wize Rentals started bringing fun games to churches and has now grown to do weddings, parties and book signings. Lock also says, "Once you find your confidence and are doing what you love, there's no stopping you." Lock believes that confidence is the biggest struggle for women who are trying to enter a field typically dominated by men. The Women’s Business Center teaches their clients to find that missing confidence, but Ward says that logistics can still be difficult.
Ward also says, "Putting all those numbers together, doing that number crunching. That seems to be the biggest hurdle that women are overcoming, and they are overcoming. They're doing the hard work, and putting those numbers together, and doing the market research." Based on the study, Mississippi women are overcoming hurdles and finding the confidence and skills to become entrepreneurs. Mississippi's women-owned businesses have grown by 77% and are projected to keep rising.