When a large chicken processing plant in El Dorado, Arkansas, closed in 2008, roughly 1,500 employees and 160 contract growers found themselves out of work. Amid the bleak economic downturn, however, LaQuita Rainey saw an opportunity.
Rainey had spent 28 years in the nursing field and operated her own business, Elder House Adult Daycare, which offered an alternative to nursing homes and assisted living and gave caregivers a break during the day. She knew demand for nurses was on the rise, and, with so many people laid off and out of work, she saw a need for businesses to create jobs in El Dorado, which straddles the Arkansas-Louisiana border. She wanted to grow her business, but wasn’t sure how.
That’s when she came across Operation Jump Start, a six-week training course hosted by Winrock’s Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC). The AWBC inspires women-owned startups to chase their dreams of entrepreneurship. After completing the training, Rainey became an AWBC client for one-on-one business consulting. She has received assistance with employee management, business accounting, cash flow management and other needs.
“The Arkansas Women’s Business Center has always been available when I need them,” Rainey said. “They offer a variety of services that I would not otherwise be able to afford, including marketing expertise, accounting expertise and other services they have provided me as resources.”
The results, by any measure, have been stunning. Rainey founded Complete Home Care in 2010, providing medical and non-medical in-home care support services. In the years since, her business has grown to support 43 employees. In 2016, Complete Home Care won the South Arkansas Business Award for Best Minority-Owned Business. Rainey is an excellent example of how consistent AWBC assistance can improve small business success, particularly for women-owned businesses.
“AWBC continues to assist LaQuita with Complete Home Care while also looking at new potential start-up business opportunities and looks forward to helping her business grow and thrive,” said Chauncey Pettis, the director of the AWBC.