Magazine Feature / People

Book helps women who want to start their own business

Ever since she was a young girl, Clara Villarosa has had a passion for books. First, reading them, then selling them and now, writing them. The self-proclaimed bibliophile recently published a book to help women start their own business calledDown to Business: The First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women. (Avery Books, 2009)

Villarosa knows what it takes. Two decades ago, she decided to pursue her dream of opening an African-American bookstore. She started the Hue-Man Bookstore in a two-story row house in Denver; it became the largest African-American bookstore in the country. She later moved to New York, where she opened a Hue-Man bookstore in Harlem.

Now retired from selling books, Villarosa — who attended DU and serves on the University’s Board of Trustees — has become a business coach and provides workshops and consultation to help women strategically plan and grow their business.

“So many women throughout my career have asked me for advice on how to start a business,” Villarosa says. “The book is an outgrowth of the coaching and workshops and offers step-by-step tips on starting a business.”

“Statistically, women start more businesses than men, but usually the businesses are smaller, undercapitalized and don’t employ as many people,” she adds.

The goal of the book is to set a solid foundation for women-owned businesses so they start strong and are not as vulnerable to failure.

“Women need to be inspired by other women who have been there and done that,” she says.  She notes that the book shares the stories of 20 women in different types of businesses.

Villarosa says writing the book was the “broadest platform I could think of” to reach as many women as possible. “It is about reaching women so they can be successful,” she says.

The book is available at most major bookstores, and the Hue-Man Bookstore and Café in Harlem.

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