DENTON — Texas Woman’s University will receive $2.2 million in state funding over the next two years to establish a Center for Women in Business on its Denton campus. The center will be the first of its kind in the region and will provide leadership opportunities to encourage and support women’s business ownership and success.
“We believe that women-owned businesses are an economic resource yet to be fully developed, and that TWU, which is the nation’s largest university primarily for women, is well positioned to be at the forefront in making a difference in the lives of so many women in Texas, as well as having a huge economic impact on our state,” TWU Chancellor Carine M. Feyten stated in a press release.
The TWU Center for Women in Business will provide students and entrepreneurs access to education in business creation and ownership, engagement and mentorship with role models who already own their own businesses, and opportunities to engage in a learning lab that explores the intersection of gender and entrepreneurial leadership. Through mentoring, establishing networks, dissemination of information and hands-on learning opportunities for students and others, TWU will further the goal of spurring economic growth and small business development by women in Texas. Future plans for the center include expansion into Dallas and Houston, encompassing all three TWU campuses.
Many research opportunities also will emerge from this initiative, including work that explores what operational, financial and other factors are necessary to accelerate the overall success of women-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs.
According to TWU Associate Professor of Marketing Pushkala Raman, the new center will build upon the hands-on learning projects with businesses that TWU students already experience as part of their classes.
“We currently practice the model of ‘learn by doing’ with our students working on ‘real-world’ business plans and projects with area businesses and organizations as clients,” Raman stated. “This new center will expand upon existing models and allow our students and the community to engage in, support, research and learn from the experiences of women who own their own businesses, thus inspiring an entrepreneurial spirit among our students and others.”
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women-owned businesses account for 30 percent of all enterprises in the U.S., but only employ about 6 percent of the country’s workforce and contribute to less than 4 percent of business revenues in the country – roughly the same share they contributed in 1997. This national experience is mirrored in Texas.
Feyten says that receiving funding for the Center for Women in Business, along with approval for a new Student Union and new Science and Technology Building, shows overwhelming support for TWU by the state.
“We appreciate the governor’s and Legislature’s recognition of our importance and value to the state, which underscores our longstanding history and reputation of educating women leaders in Texas,” Feyten stated. “TWU and Denton County are blessed to have terrific representation in Austin, in both the House and the Senate.”