YWCA helps women-owned businesses thrive through various programs

Patsy Mink Center for Business & Leadership

Sponsored by YWCA Oahu

October is National Women’s Small Business Month, and with many women-owned businesses being severely affected by the pandemic, YWCA Oahu is stepping up its support with the Patsy Mink Center for Business & Leadership (MCBL).

MCBL provides free one-on-one business and legal counseling to current and prospective business owners with either an established business or an idea that begins with a hobby or passion project. Through its Launch My Business program, it can take a potential entrepreneur from registering their business up through multiple growth stages and creating a website or eCommerce site. MCBL also has a program that can help those interested in creating their own non-profit.

For women leaders, the center has its Wahine Leadership programs that consist of Wahine Rising, the Patsy T. Mink Leadership Alliance and Wahine Leadership luncheons. All of these focus on building women’s leadership capacity in an effort to increase the representation of women executives in Hawaii.

For several years, the MCBL has had a successful Girl’s Summit program supporting both middle school and high school age girls to inspire and empower them. That program has been put on hold for the upcoming year due to the pandemic.

MCBL’s Shop Small Hawaii initiative is one that aims to support small businesses. The mission at #SHOPSMALLHAWAII is to provide business resources and tools to small business owners in Hawaii through educational workshops, promotions and special events in collaboration with community partners.

The #SHOPSMALLHAWAII campaign is a year-round celebration of small business owners with an annual celebration on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, “Small Business Saturday Hawaii.” There are now over 250 businesses registered with Shop Small Hawaii, which the program regularly promote on Instagram and Facebook weekly.

This year, the program provided its local small businesses with educational workshops to support them as they try to weather the effects of the pandemic. These small business owners have been directly affected by the uncertainty and stress associated with the state’s multiple closures and openings in the last seven months.

You can contact the center through the MCBL website at mcblhawaii.org or call (808) 695-2635.