Women’s Business Center at First State Community Loan Fund

Our Mission

The mission of the Women’s Business Center at First State Community Loan Fund (WBC) is to act as the catalyst for providing in-depth, substantive, outcome-oriented business services to women entrepreneurs. The WBC provides intensive business training that includes courses on business plans, business financing, social media, and marketing analysis. In addition, the WBC will provide the opportunity for new women-owned businesses to be mentored by existing, successful women business owners.

The WBC not only offers business assistance services, but helps connect women business owners to capital to help start or grow their business. The partnership between the WBC and First State Community Loan Fund allows women and entrepreneurs to not only access much needed capital, but receive valuable business assistance pre and post loan.  As an official SBA Resource Partner, the WBC also partners with SCORE and the Small Business Development Center, in addition to other State agencies to help ensure the success of women and entrepreneurs.

Another key factor for Women in business is creating a “Work Life Balance”.  The concern is addressed through mentoring and networking opportunities offered several times a year.

Crawford-Jones Named to Lead Women’s Business Center

Sara A. Crawford-Jones was named program director of the Women’s Business Center at First State Community Loan Fund.

Crawford-Jones was formerly a program specialist with the WBC.

The WBC provides training on critical areas for success such as business plans, business financing, social media and marketing, and also facilitates mentoring by experienced women business owners. The WBC is a federally funded program of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the nation’s platform for small business support that leads the charge for economic growth in cities around the U.S. The partnership between the WBC and First State Community Loan Fund allows women and entrepreneurs to access capital and receive valuable business assistance pre- and post-loan. As an official SBA Resource Partner, the WBC also partners with Score and the Small Business Development Center, in addition to other state agencies to help ensure the success women and entrepreneurs.

A veteran small business owner, Crawford-Jones, of Wilmington, founded a fashion brand, Anara Original, for which she is owner, designer, marketer and management, all with impressive results. Anara Original was featured in LA Fashion Week and publications such as Lucky Magazine and Teen Vogue. Black Celebrity Giving named her a “Change Maker and Young Philanthropist” and Crawford-Jones was voted People’s Choice Best Designer by Delaware Fashion Week 2015.

In 2016, Crawford-Jones expanded her brand with her book, “The Playbook to Essential Style — Learn, Build and Explore Your Style.” At the same time, she created a fashion and lifestyle blog called, “Blondie Jones,” through which she shared her life as a wife, entrepreneur and her love for cooking and entertaining.

Crawford-Jones received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design and marketing from the International Academy of Design and Technology. She established herself and her skills at fashion brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and DDC Lab.

“Sara Crawford-Jones demonstrated exceptional expertise and drive during her time as program specialist here at First State Community Loan Fund,” President and CEO Vandell Hampton Jr. said. “I am pleased to promote her to the important position of program director of the WBC. Her commitment to supporting women in business is palpable; I know she is going to do an excellent job.”

Training Programs Include:

  • Creating a Passport to Success (Business Plan)
  • Using Social Media
  • Government Contracting and Certification
  • Creating a Market Analysis and implementation plan
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Internal Controls
  • Industry Specific Business Best Practices
  • Starting and sustaining a Business
  • Networking
  • How to Finance Your Business
  • Mentoring
  • Starting a Child Care
  • Insurance Compliance
  • Bi-Lingual Training

For more information about The WBC, fill out a “Request for Counseling Form”, or email us at wbc@firststateloan.org.

Photo by Misty Dawn Photography