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‘Start business before you start business’: St. Louis center aids micro-businesses, entrepreneurs

From Left, Alyce Herndon and Reona Wise are affiliated with Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, which has a new location at 6722 Page Ave.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
From Left, Alyce Herndon and Reona Wise are affiliated with Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, which has a new location at 6722 Page Ave.";

The road for small business owners is often a challenging one, especially when there is limited access to information or resources. However, one local organization has a mission to empower women with knowledge to help them succeed.

“Often you have women business owners that endeavor to start a business, [but] they actually do things a little bit out of order,” Alyce Herndon explained on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “What I mean by that is they may have a website or an EIN number, but they fail to register their name.”

Herndon, the director of Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, joined host Don Marsh to discuss the resources the center provides for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women and minorities within the community.

“So I often share with people, ‘Start business before you start business.’ And that starts with registering with the state of Missouri,” Herndon said.

Reona Wise also added to the conversation. Wise is the owner of the nonprofit organization Wise Impact Network and the business Wise Consulting Group.

“It was very difficult initially,” Wise said. “I actually started my business in 2007, and then I stopped because … I didn’t follow the necessary steps.”

The steps Wise referred to are those that every entrepreneur must take in order to establish a business, including registering with the state. She then got connected with Grace Hill and took a 16-week course that prepared her to re-launch her business.

“I didn’t know how to price the services we were offering, I didn’t know how to truly market it and put that information out there, but after connecting with the [Grace Hill] Women’s Business Center … I was able to be more productive and effective in moving forward and understanding all of those necessary steps and operating off of a true business plan,” Wise said.

Now, in addition to her role as a business owner, Wise is a business counselor at the center. When advising clients, she tries to get a sense for what they’re passionate about pursuing.

“In order to really give what is needed as an entrepreneur, you have to have a passion for what you’re going to do,” Wise said.

Listen to the full conversation:

Related Event
What: Grace Hill Women’s Business Center Grand Re-Opening/Open House
When: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018
Where: 6722 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63133

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Caitlin Lally is thrilled to join St. Louis Public Radio as the summer production intern for "St. Louis on the Air." With a bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Caitlin also freelances for area publications like Sauce Magazine and the Belleville News-Democrat. In her career, she's covered topics such as Trump's travel ban, political protests and community activism. When she's not producing audio segments or transcribing interviews, Caitlin enjoys practicing yoga, seeing live music, and cooking plant-based meals.

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