A Sistas in Business group dinner. Courtesy image.

Almost 10 years ago, I sat at my desk wanting something more out of life than just being a solopreneur: running a small business with no employees, working super long hours, and basically having absolutely no time for myself or anyone else.

Because the Internet has a lot of information, I started surfing the net to find an organization for African American women business owners in San Antonio and couldn’t find one. I started searching on a national level and couldn’t find any organizations that fit that description. I was amazed by this fact and decided that I would like to create an organization for African American business owners in San Antonio.

I started doing research and found that African American women businesses were the fastest growing business segment in the country and that was back in 2005. I just recently did some research and found that it still holds true today according the National Center for Women Businesses.

So, I founded this organization called Sistas in Business not really realizing the impact that it would have on African American women business owners in the city and throughout the country. I was really just wanting to meet with a few women to make some new friends, share business ideas and just get out of the office once a month. But what started out as a personal need ended up being the story of many women that I connected with over the course of nearly 10 years.

I had a bold vision for the organization and have been making bold moves since its inception. Ten years ago, I envisioned powerful national speakers coming to speak to our members. Women that were more successful and accomplished than we were. We created an event entitled “Power Sistas Speaking Series” and each year for four months in a row, we would invite three national speakers and a local speaker to come in and teach us about some of their experiences as entrepreneurs.

Sistas in Business logo.
Sistas in Business logo.

We had a host of speakers come to San Antonio, like Author and Filmmaker Terry McMillan; Editor Emeritus of Essence Magazine Susan Taylor; National Girl Scouts President Connie Lindsey; Reinvention Strategist Marshawn Evans and a lot more.

We’re doing it big Aug. 4-7 to celebrate our 10th year anniversary and we’re bringing in some powerhouse speakers to San Antonio, once again. Our lineup includes Actress Lynn Whitfield, currently a star on “How to Get Away With Murder;” Phaedra Parks, reality TV star of “Real Housewives of Atlanta;” Dana Gilmore, HBO Def Poet and our very own Neka Cleaver.

We will have plenty of free workshops to teach women how to incorporate technology into their businesses, monetize their websites, acquire loans from the Small Business Administration, and meet small women business owners and the expo floor.

We’ll even allow men to have their rightful place in our event. A panel of husbands will talk about what it’s like to be married to an entrepreneur at our “She Wears the Pants” event. Visit our website for all the details of the conference.

Again, I wasn’t really thinking about 10 years…I was just thinking about meeting new people, making new friends and meeting likeminded people that wanted to do something other than work all the time and it turned into much more than that.

Lynn Whitfield will speak for our Founder’s Day Luncheon; Phaedra Parks will speak at our Empowerment Breakfast and Dana Gilmore and Neka Cleaver will share the stage at our Pink Black Bling Gala.

Sistas in Business has been very active in the community since its inception. Literacy is a program near and dear to our hearts. We established a literacy program called Read & Lead where we take kids out into the community to read to senior citizens, wounded warriors, the YMCA, local restaurants and grocery outlets, Morgan’s Wonderland, the Witte Museum and more. Sistas in Business recently received an award from the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) for our service to students in the district.

A group of children read during the Read & Lead literacy program. Courtesy photo.
A group of children read during the Read & Lead literacy program. Courtesy photo.

Sistas in Business has many community partners including, but not limited to, the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, SAReads, SA2020, and four schools in SAISD.

It’s time to celebrate 10 years of serving the San Antonio education and business community. We’re bringing in the stars to San Antonio to help us celebrate. Women will be coming from Kansas City, Maryland, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and all over the U.S.

We’re proud of the fact that we’ve lasted this long and look forward to a celebration as big as Texas. So come out and bring your note pad and a big smile. This will be a three-day event you won’t soon forget.

For more information about the event, visit www.sibdecadeofpower.com.

*Featured/top image: A Sistas in Business group dinner.  Courtesy image. 

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Laura Thompson

Laura Thompson founded Sistas in Business in August 2005. Thompson is a small business owner who had a vision to change the perception and opportunities for African American women business owners in San...