Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) helps entrepreneurs get the skills to keep the doors open
by Cuevas Peacock
I fell in love with Waco somewhere in between Elm and Austin Avenue. Perhaps it was while grabbing a bite to eat at Xristos Café, and then dessert at Hey Sugar. Maybe it was while getting a hair cut at the Jockey Club before visiting Suit City in hopes of finding a fresh outfit to compliment my fresh cut. Or it could’ve been at the Magnolia Market amongst the thousands of visitors who had traveled miles upon miles to Waco as a result of their appreciation for a loving couple dream come true. My love for the city only grew as I expanded outside of the downtown footprint and began spending my Saturday afternoons enjoying the Bistec a La Mexicana at Rufi’s Cocina topped off with ice cream from La Nueva Michoacana. While there are number of factors resulting in Waco holding a special place in heart, the most significant will forever be its entrepreneurs.
Our city is home to a collection of go getters who refuse take for no for an answer as they work to achieve their dreams of ownership. It is a community of business owners I have grown to appreciate during my AmeriCorps VISTA year of service with City Center Waco, and that the organization seeks to strengthen. In all professions, there is an amount of training one must undergo to obtain the knowledge needed to reach the desired level of success. Doctors go to medical school; lawyers go to law school, however far too often the only training entrepreneurs receive are the lessons learned after failing. Recognizing the opportunity to provide additional readiness programs for small business owners, City Center Waco is excited to announce its adoption of a new entrepreneurial training program, the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO).
WIBO is based on the idea that people with an entrepreneurial spirit can be taught how to start and grow a profitable business through a curriculum designed to provide knowledge, create networks and build capacity to access capital. The program is open to anyone, but specifically targets low-income, underserved communities including minorities, women, veterans, and the formerly incarcerated. Since its creation in 1966 WIBO has developed nearly 17,000 entrepreneurs resulting in the creation of almost 35,000 jobs in cities across the country. 75% of new businesses are up and running within a year of completing the program. For those already in business, 42% see an increase in revenue after graduating. Knowing of the program’s success nationwide, City Center Waco felt charged to bring the opportunity to our local entrepreneurs.
WIBO participants are educated by seasoned industry professionals on a range of topics relevant to the success of their business. What’s most exciting about the program is its track record in increasing a business’s ability to keep its doors open. Graduates were almost three times as likely to still be in business after five years, compared to those who fail to go through a similar training. Through the adoption and implementation of WIBO, City Center Waco will assist McLennan County area small business owners and budding entrepreneurs obtain financial success by starting, operating, and building successful businesses that develop economic power, provide jobs and improve communities.
For more information on the Workshop in Business Opportunities and ways to sign-up or contribute as a sponsor please contact City Center Waco at 254-754-8898 or via email at [email protected]
Cuevas Peacock is a community builder with dreams of becoming a poet, for he was once told that they are life’s last true teachers. Hailing from Port Arthur, the only place where oil and water mixes, Cuevas serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA with City Center Waco. Through this role he is able to focus on two of his greatest passion’s neighborhood association’s and entrepreneurs.
Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.