COLUMBIA - The Missouri Women’s Business Center celebrated five years of helping female entrepreneurs and local businesses on Wednesday night.
More than 50 mid-Missouri businesses that are supported by the non-profit program participated in the ribbon cutting celebration.
Like many other companies, the program did everything they could to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"When COVID first hit we were working around the clock to get the latest info out to the clients to make sure they knew what was going on," Director Jessie Yankee said.
Yankee said that a lot of the clients had struggles over the last year and a half.
"I think that the importance of the Women's Business Center is they had a network of people to help them," Yankee said. "Instead of going in alone."
The program has worked with over 1,500 entrepreneurs in the mid-Missouri area and helped launch more than 70 businesses.
One local business owner started her business, Star's Brides, one month ago and is already benefiting from involvement with the program.
"They've been really good about letting me be apart of events like this and different networking groups," Star Simmons said. "They give you lots of information."
The program continues to help with new businesses as mid-Missouri returns to normal.
"We have so many clients that are really ambitious about starting a business," business coach Sarah Cyr said.
The program helps women in the following counties: Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau and Osage.
"So many of the women came in with nothing but an idea," Yankee said. "Now they're in full scale businesses."