A group to encourage and educate women in business has a new name to better reflect its mission, organizers say. What was until recently known as the Rockville Women’s Business Center is now the Maryland Women’s Business Center.
Lori Gillen, managing director of the center, said organizers didn’t want having Rockville in the group’s name to keep people from outside the city from participating.
“We would often get calls from people who would say, ‘I don’t live in Rockville. Can I still come?’” Gillen said.
The center, which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary, provides resources and training for people in the business community. While both men and women at all levels of business are welcome to take part, the center focuses on women who are small business owners or are interested in starting their own businesses.
“From the very beginning, we have been helping women from throughout the Maryland region — actually, D.C. and Virginia, too,” Gillen said.
The center cooperates with Rockville Economic Development Inc. to run the StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition, which is now in its 10th year. Last year, a Rockville resident won the competition, but entrepreneurs submitted entries from other areas of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Although Maryland Women’s Business Center programs draw participants from a wide area, Gillen said it will remain in Rockville. The center is a project of Rockville Economic Development Inc., but it receives sponsorship from Montgomery County government, as well as foundations and corporations outside the city.
When the center first got started, a feasibility study recognized it would reach beyond the city limits, Gillen said.
“Even in the beginning, we wondered if we were limiting ourselves by just using the name Rockville, but we wanted to give Rockville credit for getting this started,” she said.
To learn about programs offered by the Maryland Women’s Business Center, visit marylandwbc.org, or call 301-315-8096.