Women’s Business Center

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Tap into the power of women in business

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Build your business skills. Finance your business. Mentoring and consulting.

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Empower

The Women in Business Seminar Series is a place for women business owners and leaders to come together. This series is designed to help you deepen your business skills and activate the power that you have as a business owner.

We believe that women business owners are community leaders and want to help you actively engage and advocate for the change you want to see. We hope that you will join this community of inspiring entrepreneurs.

Grow

We have three levels of business development training designed to meet you where you’re at: from developing an idea to expanding an existing business. These four – six week courses are designed to help you prepare for business success.

  • Business Foundations I
  • Business Plan Workshop
  • Next Level Business Foundations

In addition, every month you can choose from a variety of other shorter seminars that discuss the newest business trends.

Support

360° Business Support

  • Professional volunteers offering one-on-one legal, credit, and bookkeeping consulting
  • Quarterly networking sponsored by local companies
  • Small business grants up to $4,000 and microloans from $500-$50,000
  • Marketing and selling events hosted by the Women’s Business Center and Mercy Corps Northwest

 

About Us

Mercy Corps Northwest is a community development financial institution, operates Oregon’s only SBA Women’s Business Center, and is the largest provider of microenterprise Matched Savings Grants in Oregon. Each year, more than 1,000 entrepreneurs walk through our doors to take the first step of launching a small business.

The WBC Mission

The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest works to elevate women entrepreneurs by educating, financing and counseling them through the process of starting and growing a business.  We believe in the power of women to create a vibrant and equitable regional economy in which everyone can participate to their greatest potential.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration

Mercy Corps Northwest hosts the only Women’s Business Center (WBC) in Oregon, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. We provide education, financing and other resources to help entrepreneurs succeed.

For other SBA events check out their calendar.

Meet Our Advisory Committee

The Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest is directed by staff and a volunteer-led Advisory Committee. Our advisors represent a diverse background of experience and contribute to the success of our economic development programs. The WBC advisory board is led by WBC manager.

Scott Bossom

Scott is a lifelong Oregon resident – born, raised and still living in NE Portland with his wife and three kids.  He has a 20+ year career in the finance/lending industry covering a wide range of roles.  Prior to joining the SBA as a Lender Relations Specialist in February 2011 Scott was the Credit Administrator for a small, mission oriented community bank in Portland that had a focus on small business.  Through all of his positions Scott has gained a strong appreciation and passion for small business and the impact it has on our overall economy.  Scott enjoys being a resource for lenders, community/economic development professionals and current/prospective business owners in helping navigate what can be a daunting process for some – capital access.  Due to Scott and the Lender Relations teams outreach and support to the business lending community – the Portland District has realized record loan volumes since 2011 including exceeding $500 million in loans supported for the first time ever in the 2016 FY.

Daphne Emerson Peters

Daphne is working as a Mosaic Product Specialist (Analyst) in the Portland office of Pacific Crest Securities (a subsidiary of Key Bank). She recently left Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), where she was the Alliance Manager for New Ventures/Startups in their Technology Transfer & Business Development (commercialization) department. Before joining OHSU, Daphne was the Senior Program Manager for Corporate Partnerships & Education at NYC’s Department of Small Business Services under the Bloomberg Administration. Daphne has her Masters in Public Administration from NYU and hopes to use all of her experiences to build a career in social impact investing to support social ventures. Daphne is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs, women in leadership, and women in science.

Brenda Eichelberger

(Instructor, School of Business Administration, Portland State University)

Brenda is a full-time business instructor at Portland State University. She has been with PSU since early 1997 and has taught a variety of classes in the Management area (Introduction to Business, Business Environments, Personal Finance, Introduction to Human Resource Management, Small Venture Creation and Entrepreneurship). Prior to PSU Brenda taught at Portland and Clackamas Community College. She has also had the opportunity to teach entrepreneurship in the Far East of Russia and Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia).  Brenda has managed a small private business college and understands the challenges of businesses operating in the State of Oregon. She specializes in assisting small businesses with business planning techniques and is active in her local community.  She has spoken to local businesses regarding women in entrepreneurship, business ethics and has developed an active interest in micro-finance.

 


 

K.J. Lewis

(founder and former owner, Global Sistergoods)

Kristi Jo (KJ) Lewis holds a BA from Mills College and moved to South Africa in 1994 to work for an international non-government organization launching domestic violence shelters in the Cape Flats townships. She then joined the Peace Corps, serving in Namibia until 2000. She holds a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Education Policy from Portland State University. KJ lives in North Portland with her artist husband David, her two-year old daughter, an incorrigible African dog, two cats and some chickens. KJ enjoys hiking, cooking and has a nearly obsessive need to preserve and can Oregon’s summer bounty.
KJ is an alumna of both NEW Leadership Oregon and Emerge Oregon.  She is a recipient of the Portland Business Journal Orchid Award (2008), Soroptomist International’s Making a Difference for Women Award (2009), and was named one of “40 under 40” in 2010, again by the Portland Business Journal. KJ has chaired local boards of First Book and the Young Women’s Social Entrepreneurs, and currently co-hosts three educational networking events on public policy and international issues: The Development Salon, Emerge: On the Issues, and International Development Happy Hour.

 


 

Ann McQuesten

(NW Business Law)

Ann McQuesten is a native of the Pacific Northwest who is passionate about providing legal services to local small businesses. We are very excited to partner with Ann and Northwest Business Law Group in a joint effort to help Oregon businesses thrive. Besides serving as an advisory board member for the WBC, Ann also provides a monthly legal clinic for Mercy Corps NW’s small business clients, advising clients on legal business issues.


 

Jeanne Enders

(Portland State University)

Jeanne Enders is currently the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Business at Portland State University.  She holds Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Social and Organizational Psychology from the University of Chicago.  She studied as a Rotary Graduate Fellow at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria.

Jeanne’s primary interests have to do with understanding how businesses can generate meaningful workplaces, products, business models and services.  She teaches in the areas of organizational behavior and business ethics. She is currently researching life stories and ethics perspectives of business ethics award winners in the region.  Jeanne and her husband have a consulting practice called endersgroup through which she consults in the areas of emotional intelligence and innovation teams.

As Associate Dean at the PSU School of Business, Jeanne supports faculty, staff, students and the social, environmental and economic vitality of our region through the delivery of business education at Portland State University.  This vision aligns directly with the work of the Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps.  Jeanne is therefore thrilled to serve on the advisory board for this great set of initiatives that also serves the economic vitality of our region so well.

 


 

Jennifer Fern

(KeyBank)

I specialize in working with businesses in the Oregon and SW Washington markets with SBA transactions. I am passionate about delivering creative and intelligent financing solutions and work closely with my clients throughout the SBA process. I’m a strong proponent of the SBA program and the impact it has on our local and national economy. There’s nothing better than having a direct contribution in helping a client reach the next level of success. I have the rare opportunity in helping make my clients dreams come true, which is a true joy to me.

I started my banking career in 1996 as a teller and since have worked in various roles throughout the bank. Of my 17 years in banking I spent 10 as an underwriter with 6 of those in commercial banking. During my time in commercial banking, I analyzed some of the larger more complex relationships in the bank, which has given me unique qualifications in my current role and a strong grasp of business financials and fundamentals. Additionally, I hold a degree in both finance and management from Portland State University’s School of Business Administration and am currently finishing up my final year at Pacific Coast Banking School.