LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- U.S. Bureau of Labor data shows the pandemic is disproportionately impacting women in the workforce. That's why resources like the Nevada Women's Business Center are more important now than ever.

One local business owner said the center helped her start, expand and sustain her business. 

Ava Mucikyan is a local business owner who describes the pandemic as a roller coaster of emotions.

Mucikyan owns The Salt Room Las Vegas. She said they're celebrating their 6th anniversary amid the chaos of a pandemic. She's grateful to have gotten involved with Nevada Women's Business Center.

"It's just so helpful, so resourceful. Any time you call they're just like, almost family, ya know?" said Mucikyan. "Especially during the pandemic, it was just the most amazing thing, because I would get the emails, they would do webinars with the resource partners..."

Webinars, business plan development and access to capital are just some of the ways in which Nevada Women's Business Center helps local entrepreneurs for free.

"We can help you take an idea that you may have, and help you figure out how to make it profitable," said Leanna Jenkins, executive director, Nevada Women's Business Center.

With the Salt Room, Mucikyan's idea was to bring the Las Vegas area its first natural therapeutic Himalayan salt cave, where they offer massages and facials among other services.

She says the business center helped her get the loan that launched her business.

"You know how you go to a bank, and get a loan, and they sort of forget about you until your annual review comes along? Leanna actually pulled me straight into the community. It wasn't just about the loan, it was like an angel that just took you on their wings, and started to introduce you around," said Mucikyan.

Since then, even during the pandemic, she acquired a new business called NV Float.

The guidance and mentorship is what brought Mucikyan the empowerment she needs to sustain her businesses.

"There are so many things that hold women back personally from achieving their dreams, and so Nevada Women's Business Center is really that empowerment group, who doesn't just give you a loan or tell you to go apply for SBA, they actually, ya know, believe in you, they believe in your idea," said Mucikyan.

With the current state of the economy the Women's Business Center encourages owners to pivot and Diversifying business as much as possible.

"One thing that we stress to our business owners, and unfortunately I think that what we're going through right now is certainly an example, is that you never want to put all your eggs in one basket," she said.

The Nevada Women's Business Center, funded in part by the SBA, offers free support, training and mentoring for entrepreneurs, and Jenkins said it's not just for women.


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