Coachella Valley Women's Business Center helps make entrepreneurial dreams come true

Non-profit helps launch and grow businesses

Women's Business center helps make entre

PALM DESERT, Calif. - Bethany Smith of Palm Desert says her business is booming.

Its called "Lift Your Table".

"I love the challenge of finding customers, not just next door, but all over the world," said Smith.

Karen Bell of Rancho Mirage is also "cleaning up" with her venture, the "Hippy Sister Soap Company".

"I don't know why I love doing what I do.  I know I can't wait to wake up in the morning and do it," said Bell. 

While their products are quite different, one thing the entrpreneurs have in common is they both relied on the Coachella Valley Women's Business Center to help kick start their ventures.

Kim Scanlan is the project director at the CVWBC office in Palm Desert.

"I get to see miracles every day," said Scanlan. 

The non profit agency, supported primarily by funding from the Small Business Administration, provides low-cost classes, training and support, for not only women, but also men, who need help starting or growing a business.

Scanlan says since the office opened in 2006, the center has helped start at least 250 businesses in the valley, leading to 500 full-time jobs, and 250 part-time jobs.

"The women's business center speaks particularly to women's obstacles that they experience in trying to start a business," said Scanlan. 

Both Bethany and Karen completed the "Its Your Time" intensive business start-up program offered by the CVWBC, which is a series of at least ten workshops in which aspiring business owners meet with counselors, create vision boards, and develop business plans.  

Both women credit the experience with playing a key role in getting them where they are today.  
"I don't think I could have done it without this organization," said Bell.

Bethany says sales for your "Lift Your Table" have "quadrupled" over the past two years, to "more than six figures" per year, and they're shipping internationally.  

The product is an attachment which increases the height of a table.

"In my opinion, there has never been a better time for people to be in business," said Smith.

Bell, who runs her "Hippy Sister Soap Company" from her home in Rancho Mirage, says sales for her organic,luxury soaps are "doubling each year".

Her products are also being carried by high-end retailers around the country.

Her soap will also be in gift baskets given to tennis players competing in the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

"I tried to sell things in the past, and that didn't go over very well, and then I got into soap making, and I just didn't want to make a traditional bar of soap.  I wanted to make something beautiful," said Bell. 

Scanlan says its gratifying to watching Smith and Bell, and others succeed.

"Here I get to see women start businesses, grow businesses, and become something they've aspired to be for years and years," said Scanlan.

The Coachella Valley Women's Business Center is offering a full slate of classes and programs from now through March.

Click here for more information. 

The CVWBC is also supported by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration at California State University San Bernardino.


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