AWBC Celebrates The Graduation of 36 Women’s Business Centers

Honoring the Inaugural Cohort for the National WBC of Excellence Program Sponsored by Dutch Bros

WASHINGTON, D.C. – AWBC is honored to celebrate and recognize 36 Women’s Business Centers for graduating in the inaugural cohort with the National WBC of Excellence program sponsored by Dutch Bros.

The primary objective of the National Women’s Business Center of Excellence designation is to recognize organizations that demonstrate commitment and efficacy of the mission, vision, and values of their Women’s Business Center thereby achieving the greatest outcomes for women owned businesses.

“The Excellence Program is inspiring and empowering for all women in business and entrepreneurship,” said Milly Pineda, Director of DEI & Learning and Development. “Dutch Bros is honored to help support WBC and proud of the massive difference it makes in the lives of women. Congratulations to all the 2023 graduates!”

Over the series of Five Milestone Assignments, WBCs partnered with a peer in their cohort to identify gaps and opportunities for the WBC to improve in a variety of areas; including strategic goal-setting, service delivery, continuous improvement and/or peer relationships. In order to fulfill these objectives, AWBC recognizes the value of the organization’s volunteers, leadership team and funders which is reflected in the involvement of these stakeholders in the final stages of the designation attainment.

“The inaugural WBC of Excellence program is impressive all around; the pioneering cohort of WBC Directors are testaments to the national WBC program, the work completed is useful, relevant, and entirely applicable to the operational lives of the participants, and the AWBC has organized a meaningful, enjoyable, and achievable experience for participants. Thank you, Dutch Bros, for seeing the vision of this high-impact program, whose results will be long and wide-reaching! CONGRATS to our inaugural cohort!,” said Gwen Pokalo Hart, Chair of the AWBC Capacity Building Committee and Vice President Policy for the Center for Women & Enterprise.

The National WBC of Excellence graduation and closing ceremony took place on 15 December, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women Business Ownership, Christina Hale along with the Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED, Mark Madrid were in attendance and shared congratulations at the inaugural recognition ceremony. For more information about how to find a Women’s Business Center, please visit www.awbc.org.

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About the Association of Women’s Business Centers

The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1998 to support the national network of Women’s Business Centers (WBC) with programming and advocacy. The AWBC works to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by supporting and sustaining a national network of nearly 150 Women’s Business Centers (WBC) in every State in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. WBCs have more than 30-years of success in providing educational training, mentoring, free business counseling, business development, and financing opportunities to over 150,000 women entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. The WBC program is a public-private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration. To learn more about AWBC visit www.awbc.org.

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