Non-profit founder teaches women to create their own organizations

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COLUMBIA — The founder of a Columbia non-profit group is empowering women to start their own similar organizations.

Teri Walden, executive director of EnCircle Technologies, hosted 12 people at the Missouri Women's Business Center to offer her insights on starting a non-profit.

"They probably had a great list of questions to ask before they started a non-profit and hopefully I contributed to their understanding of what it's like," Walden said. 

Donna Arnett plans to start her own organization centered around e-commerce.

"Me and my husband are considering a new business and we're trying to figure out if non-profit, or regular profit, or social enterprise is going to be the right format for it," Arnett said.

Walden told the group the process would be difficult and one of commitment. 

Arnett said, "I learned a lot about non-profits and how much work it is and what goes into it."

Her non-profit has been in the works for a month and she said it's in the beginning stages. 

"We just have an idea of trying to help single moms or people who can't get out of their house a way to make money from home with e-commerce," Arnett said. 

She will finish the Missouri Women's Business Center's LaunchU program in four weeks. From there, she said, the process to start her business could take up to a year. 

Walden started EnCircle Technologies about three years ago. It trains students on the autism spectrum in areas such as programming, web development and office software. 

Walden said her son, who has the disorder, inspired her to start the organization. 

"After high school, there is a service cliff where there's not a lot of services, especially in the education part for individuals who might learn a little bit differently and need a different pace," she said.