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About Us

Mission Statement

The mission of the WBCNA is to help women and men start and grow a business and generate economic growth for the region. This is accomplished by serving as the premier source for information and access to resources; facilitating their self-discovery and personal development; and providing a mentoring process to support, nurture and advocate the development of their business.

Our Values

  • Complete client confidentiality
  • Responsiveness to our clients’ needs
  • Sincere and constructive feedback to our clients
  • Fair and equal treatment for all clients
  • Respect for clients and their entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Adherence to the highest ethical standards of conduct

Who is a Client of the WBCNA?

Our clients are women and men in North Alabama who want to start or grow a business.
Our clients are our most important stakeholders.
Our clients are not dependent on us; we are dependent on them.
Our clients are not an interruption of our work; they are the reason for it.
We are not doing our clients a favor by serving them; they are doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to serve them.

Adapted from the words of Mahatma Gandhi

 


Chronology

2000
  • First organizational meeting in June at Mullins Restaurant organized by our visionary, Diane Weston.  In attendance were Barbara Jones, PhD; Carolyn McMillan; Cindy Norton; Elizabeth "Liz" Hall, PhD; Elizabeth Morard; Jenny Clark; Kate Markland; Kathryn Cataldo; Lynn Garrison; Sally Ann Little; and Susan Glover. 
2001
  • The Chamber's Women's Business Council established a Steering Committee with Elaine Plank serving as Chair in November
2002
  • Determined Vision and Mission Statement.  Name chosen: Women's Business Center of North Alabama, Inc.
2003
  • Incorporated in the State of Alabama as a non-profit organization on January 22. The original board members were Elaine Plank, Elizabeth Hall, Nancy Gill, Beth Townsend, Jennifer Dooling, Barbara Buice-Watson, and Elizabeth Garcia.
  • Seed monies received from local individuals and businesses: Remigius Shatas, Bobby Bradley, Donna Lamb, Arlene Stackhouse, Sharon Morgan, FLS, Sheila Brown, Nancy Gill, and Karen Stanley.
  • Began serving clients with an all volunteer board.
2004
  • WBCNA obtained 501(c)(3) status from the IRS in February.
  • Office, meeting, and training space generously donated by Crestwood Medical Center
  • The Board of Directors was increased to 15 directors and Joanne Randolph was elected as board President.
2005
  • Became a Technical Assistance Provider for the SBA Community Express Loan.
  • Elaine Plank was selected as the "Women in Business Champion" for the State of Alabama by the Small Business Administration.
  • Selected Joanne Randolph as the first Executive Director on a part- time, contractual basis.
  • 2005 Annual Report (PowerPoint)
2006
  • Received 5-year SBA Grant and hired two full-time employees--- Executive Director and Administrative Assistant.
  • Developed the "Society of 75" fundraiser as a means of community support to match Federal dollars.
  • Established and selected the first "Small Business Start-Up of the Year" Bobbie Bright, Living Art Water Gardens.
  • Joanne Randolph was selected as the 2006 Small Business Advocate of the Year by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) for the Lower South Region comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and Texas..
  • 2006 Annual Report (PowerPoint)
  • 2006 990 Income Tax Return (PDF)
  • 2006 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
2007
  • Recipient of Microcatalyst Grant from Women Entrepreneurs in Baltimore (WEB) for strategic planning consulting; board retreat held in July.
  • Selected as the "2007 Non-Profit of the Year" by the Huntsville- Madison County Chamber of Commerce (from a field of 19 local non- profit organizations).
  • Joanne Randolph was selected as the "2007 Women in Business Champion of the Year" for the State of Alabama and our 5-state region by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  • Completed our first SBA Grant year within budget and exceeding goals.
  • Provided counseling to 268 new clients; provided 458 total hours of client counseling; provided training to 788 attendees in 65 training sessions for a total of 2600 training hours.
  • By the end of the year, 74 "Society of 75" members had been recruited.
  • Launched a new website with average of 20,000 hits per month.
  • Selected Myers Technical Services as the "2007 Small Business Start-up of the Year."
  • 2007 Annual Report (PowerPoint)
  • 2007 990 Income Tax Return
  • 2007 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
2008
  • Recipient of a USDA grant to provide entrepreneurial counseling and training to entrepreneurs in Jackson County.
  • Recipient of a VIA/WIRED grant to provide entrepreneurial counseling and training to entrepreneurs in Dekalb, Cullman, and Marshall Counties.
  • Red Sage Communications, Inc., selected as the 2008 Start-up of the Year
  • Relocated to the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville-Madison County
  • Expanded operations into Jackson, Morgan,Dekalb, Marshall, and Cullman Counties
  • Provided counseling to  over 1,400 clients;  provided training in 70 training sessions for a total of 2,807 training hours.
  • 2008 Annual Report (PDF)
  • 2008 990 Income Tax Return (PDF)
  • 2008 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
2009
  • Held the first ever Direct Selling Expo in North Alabama
  • Aetos Systems, Inc., selected as the 2009 Start-up of the Year.
  • Expanded Staff to three full-time employees - Joanne Randolph, President & CEO; Stephanie Sellers, Program Director; and, Jennifer Schade, Administrative Assistant
  • Provided counseling and training to over 2,700 clients;  provided training in 125 training sessions for a total of 4,625 training hours.
  • 2009 Annual Report (PowerPoint)
  • 2009 990 Income Tax Return (PDF)
  • 2009 Audited Financial Statements2009 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
2010
  • Launched the Government Procurement Assistance Center
  • WBCNA was selected by the SBA as the “2010 Women’s Business Center of Excellence” for the State of Alabama
  • Business Coach Hilary Claybourne was selected by SBA as the “Veterans Champion of the Year” for the State of Alabama and our 8-State Region
  • Business Coach Foster Campbell was selected by SBA as the “Financial Champion of the Year” for the State of Alabama
  • WBCNA-nominated client, Nesin Therapy Services, was selected by SBA as “Small Family-Owned Business of the Year” for the State of Alabama and our 8-state region.
  • New volunteer business coaches joined the WBCNA:  Jeff Irons, Steve Reed, Meaghan Williams-Chitwood, Chris Gattis, Donna Berger, Shannon Drake, Sharon Steelman, Dr. Andrea Tillman, Dr. Lois Pope, Beth Sippel, Jenni Jeffers, Tara Furlough, Gerry Johnson, Janet Phillips, Blake Herrin, Nancy Gill, Dr. Jay Billings, Foster Campbell, and Mike Sandy.
  • WBCNA announced a partnership with advantages, a New York-based PR and strategy firm, to deliver a new program called the “Entrepreneur’s Growth Council” to help existing businesses to grow. 
  • WBCNA delivered FastTrac® for the first time in Decatur, through a partnership with the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and Calhoun Community College.
  • WBCNA launched “Talk Radio for Entrepreneurs,” a weekly one-hour talk show for business.
  • WBCNA outsourced Public Relations to Leah Gradl, owner of Thrive Business Development. 
  • We partnered with the Decatur Chamber of Commerce to hold a Business Matchmaker in Decatur in the Spring and Fall.
  • We launched quarterly Lunch & Learns in Hartselle in partnership with the Hartselle Chamber of Commerce
  • WBCNA launched our new website
  • WBCNA was the winner of the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics
  • 2010 Impact Statement (PDF)
  • 2010 Annual Report (PDF)
  • 2010 990 Income Tax Return (PDF)
  • 2010 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
2011
  • Counseled and trained over 2,100 individuals
  • Delivered over 67 business training sessions for a total of 6,041 training hours
  • Successfully completed the SBA 5-year WBC grant
  • Successfully completed the USDA RBEG Grant in Rural Morgan County
  • Launched the Veteran's Business Assistance Center (VBAC) and recruited eight VBAC Business Coaches
  • Held two Home-Based Business Expos
  • Awarded 2nd year contract on the VCSI Advanced Defense Technology Cluster Initiative
  • Became certified in The One Page Business Plan® (only organization offering it in North Alabama)
  • Selected Rocket City Sitters as the 2011 Start-up of the Year
  • Received unprecedented media coverage at the local, regional and national levels
  • In February 2011, we celebrated one year on the radio (WTKI and WEKI)
  • Recruited 30 new Society of 75 members
  • Recruited highly-specialized and seasoned Business Coaches who provide deep knowledge in the following core specialties:
    • Marketing/Sales
    • Human Resources
    • Team-Building
    • Government Contracting
    • Negotiation
    • Non-Profit Management
    • Retail Management
    • International Business
    • Accounting/Finances
    • General Management Skills
    • Franchising
    • Compensation/Incentives
  • Offered a number of new workshops
    • FastTrac TechVenture™
    • QuickBites with QuickBooks
    • Successful Proposal Strategies
    • Immigration Law
    • Facilities Security Clearance
    • Social Media (Linked In, Twitter and Facebook)
    • Federal Procurement Program for Women
  • 2011 Impact Statement (PDF)
  • 2011 Annual Report (PDF)
  • 2011 990 Income Tax Return (PDF)
  • 2011 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
 2012
  • Counseled and trained over 2300 individuals
  • Delivered 81 business training sessions for a total of over 9,000 training hours
  • Awarded 3rd year contract on the VCSI Advanced Defense Technology Cluster Initiative
  • Selected Silhouette Boutique as the “Start-up of the Year.”
  • Selected Angel Hundley as the “Business Coach of the Year.”
  • Engaged 14 new Society of 75 members; 7 Society members renewed for another 5 years.
  • Received tremendous community support with a record number of program sponsors .
  • Partnered with ed2go to offer online training.
  • Partnered with NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center to host an Industry Day for WOSBs.
  • Partnered with Still Serving Veterans to host “Empowering Our Veterans” event.
  • Hosted a small business breakfast with the Missile Defense Agency and their prime contractors.
  • Launched Strong Coffee Strong Women.
  • Established a Board of Advisors program for existing businesses.
  • 2012 Impact Statement (PDF)
  • 2012 Annual Report (PDF)
  • 2012 990 Income Tax Return (PDF)
  • 2012 Audited Financial Statements (PDF)
 2013
  • Counseled and trained over 2,100 individuals.
  • Delivered 81 business training sessions.
  • Awarded 4th year contract on the VCSI Huntsville Advanced Defense Technology Cluster Initiative (HADTCI).
  • Launched the “Government Contracting Credentials” program.
  • Launched “Start Smart & Grow Strong” and “Money Smart for Small Business” program series.
  • Received a Jane K. Lowe Foundation grant to establish a financial literacy program.
  • Partnered with PRCA to host the 2nd Annual “BIG Marketing & PR” event.
  • Partnered with Still Serving Veterans to host the 2nd Annual “Empowering our Veterans” event.
  • Hosted quarterly small business networking breakfasts with federal agencies and prime contractors.
  • Established seven new Board of Advisors for existing companies positioned for growth.
  • Selected Avista Strategies as “Start-up of the Year.”
  • Selected Jack Conway as “Business Coach of the Year.”
  • Selected Carol Elliott as “Volunteer of the Year.”
  • 2013 Impact Statement (PDF)
  • 2013 Annual Report (PDF)

Our services are available to anyone who needs them.  We are ready to help you fulfill your dreams and create success.