Creation of a network of women
The Arkansas World Trade Center is in the process of creating a statewide organization of women-owned businesses to help them take advantage of bilateral business and education opportunities.
The center is working on building an Arkansas chapter of the Organization of Women in International Trade, a global association.
“The Organization of Women in International Trade really helps support small and medium-sized businesses owned by women who want to move their products across borders,” said Denise Thomas, Africa and Middle East director of trade at World Arkansas Trade Center. Friday.
The organization, formed in 1989, has over 2,000 members and emphasizes networking, mentoring and education opportunities to increase bilateral business opportunities.
The Arkansas chapter will be membership-based, although participation fees have not been finalized, according to Thomas. The group is planning an official announcement in August at the Tontitown Winery in Springdale. Participation is not limited by gender.
Members will benefit from reduced rates for seminars, webinars and other events. Other benefits include global networking, business development, mentoring, education and training, and a strategic alliance with the world’s most successful markets.
The Arkansas Mall will use its resources and network to complement the organization’s mission with a particular focus on women in commerce.
“We believe the chapter will provide more training and development opportunities,” said Thomas. “We need to provide the highest level of support possible to our underserved communities when it comes to commerce and business.”
Acuzena Denton, Arkansas Chapter Advisory Board Chair, brings to the group extensive international business experience, having worked in international affairs for Walmart and now running her own business, Omni Analytics of Rogers, specializing in service to the Mexico and central and South America.
Any business operating in Arkansas can benefit from the group’s services, Denton said.
“Some companies think they can’t export their products or services to another country, but the point is you can,” she added. “We want to provide networking opportunities to help businesses go international. We can help any business in training or already in business that wants to export to other countries.”
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission will support the section’s efforts to promote bilateral trade, according to Esparanza Massana-Crain, director of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise at the state agency.
“We will certainly find ways to create synergies and collaborate in this effort,” she said. “This group will provide women in Arkansas with networking opportunities globally.”
The Arkansas World Trade Center focuses on growing Arkansas commerce and increasing exports by connecting state-owned enterprises to the world through international trade services. The center is part of the University of Arkansas system.