Mold maker H.S. Die & Engineering Inc. has held seminars for parts designers for years at its Grand Rapids, Mich., facility. Usually, about 10-20 percent of the audience members are women.
Yet many of those women have left without getting much from the discussions, said Kent Hanson, H.S. Die's director of engineering.
"Shop experience was something they really didn't have," he said. "A lot of women weren't asking questions because they didn't feel comfortable, and they were intimidated by the answers."
So the mold shop, working with Ford Motor Co., has decided to hold a seminar Sept. 16-17 specifically for women in the plastics industry. The seminar will provide those women with a better fundamental understanding of injection molds and other tooling topics.
That program is a microcosm of the support, training and education available today for woman in business or considering the field. Other agencies and associations offer plenty of help both online and in regional centers:
The Small Business Administration offers a Women's Business Center program that includes education, guidance and a chat room. The agency also has 80 regional business centers and offers a mentoring program from entrepreneurs.
Contact the SBA Office of Women's Ownership at (202) 205-6673 or online at www.sba.gov/ womeninbusiness.
The National Association of Women Business Owners offers extensive support and resources. Its Web address is www.nawbo .org.
The Women Business Owners Corp. is offering a national certification program and is affiliated with the National Association of Women Business Owners. They can be reached at www.wboc.org.
The Women's Business Enterprise National Council certifies business owners and provides information on woman-owned businesses to purchasing managers through a Web database. The Web address is www.wbenc.org.
The National Foundation for Women Business Owners provides nonprofit research and leadership development. The group is affiliated with the National Association of Women Business Owners. Go online at www.nfwbo.org.
Women in Packaging Inc. offers career and self-development services, a mentor/protege program and seminars and conferences for the packaging market. Contact the group at (770) 924-3563 or online at www.womeninpackaging.org.
Web address www.womencon nect.com links to many outside organizations providing both training and financing for woman-owned businesses.