Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Boatload of Resources for Women Entrepreneurs

Ever hear of the expression, "no excuses, just results?" Let's put it into play. SCORE has assembled a comprehensive list of useful websites to help women entrepreneurs succeed.

A snapshot of a few:

Alliance of Business Women International
ABWI is a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 to encourage and support businesswomen involved or interested in international trade opportunities.

American Business Women’s Association
ABWA’s mission is to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.

Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)
AEO provide entrepreneurs with training and technical assistance, micro-loans, access to market services and training, and/or economic literacy and asset development services.

Association of Women's Business Centers (AWBC)
The AWBC supports entrepreneurship among women as a way to achieve economic self-sufficiency, create wealth and participate in economic development through education, training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities.

Athena Foundation

The Athena Foundation pairs woman-owned businesses with a group of local mentors who serve as a panel of advisors. Advisors work with business owners for one year, free of charge.
Discover the other 37 here.

Photo credit

Friday, March 26, 2010

Do Women Start Businesses to Compliment a Lifestyle?

Although the following reference is posted at the Swazi Observer, there may be some truth to it as it relates to women business owners in America.
A study on what holds back women revealed that there is a false perception that banks have closed financing taps for small firms. In contrast, banks have come out to state that they see women as a really good credit risk, because very often they are starting businesses for survival and are careful about how they manage their finances.
A comment that was made anonymously to Mthunzi Maziya, the author of the post, said this:
“I think some women are simply not ambitious enough and don’t want to sacrifice family and children for financial independence. No wonder we are financially worse off than men.”
Read it and see if you agree or disagree. And if you feel strongly about it one way or the other, let us know! Find the entire post here.

Learn more about the Kingdom of Swaziland (women pictured are from Swaziland) here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to Make a Date to Innovate

As busy as we are running our companies, we still have to set aside time for our personal lives to ensure we nurture and cultivate the relationships that matter. But let me ask you this: Do you set aside time from your business to innovate?

Well this article I authored for the American Express OPEN Forum may help you with that. It begins with ...
Turn off your smart phone. Shut down your e-mail (or at least turn off the ping noise that sounds when you get a message). Put on something comfy. Squirrel yourself away with your laptop in tow where nobody, I mean nobody, can disturb you, because this is your time to make a date to innovate. This is my fourth installment on innovation.
Read the entire article: Make a Date to Innovate

What do you do to inspire innovation at your firm?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Flower Power Collage by Preschoolers for Auction

It's never too early to show your creativity and these young people from Mrs. Nicholson's TBPK Class, Room 006, "Flower Power," are doing an amazing job with just that.

"Flower Power" Description
Materials/ Description of Process: tempera paints and craypas. Ms. Nicholson's preschoolers at Audubon Elementary school created a stunning 20" x 20" flower collage (shown above).

Each preschooler (shown above) first painted a flower petal. After the petal dried, the children colored on top with the craypas. Beautiful and vibrant flower petals resulted. The flower's seeded center is filled with small photos of each child's smiling face!

Parent Volunteers: Laura and Jonathan Fairman
So, my fellow creative artists, aspiring women entrepreneurs and business owners, take a pause, check it out and make a bid. You'll do your good deed for the day.

Ms. Nicholson's TBPK Class, Room 006 FLOWER POWER

Note: Flower Power is available for viewing in person at Starbucks on Roscoe (and Seeley) Chicago, Illinois until March 31. Bid binders are located on the fireplace. The show is also a fundraiser for Audubon Elementary School.

Photo credit: here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is the Economy Improving?

According to a whole lot of women business owners, the slumping economy will begin to turn around soon.
One report, released late last month by the National Association of Women Business Owners, said 61 percent of the women business owners surveyed said the economy is improving, and will be better at the end of 2010 than at the year’s start. That is up from 54 percent in 2009 and 26 percent in 2008.

Another poll, late last year by the Center for Women’s Business Research, said 54 percent of women business owners surveyed think the economy is improving.

In Aurora — where the percentage of women-owned businesses outpaces the national average — women business owners say they, too, think the economy will improve steadily in 2010.
What's your gut feeling? What are you experiencing? Is the economy prohibiting you from starting a business? Read more here.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We're Not Looking for a Handout; We're Looking for a Helping Hand

What's the difference between looking for charity (handout) and a business loan (legitimate helping hand)?
Veronica James (pictured) stood on a cold street in downtown Nashville, begging for money. But it’s not quite what you might think.

With a sign hanging from her neck that reads "Will Work for Business Loan," and flurries of snow blowing through the air, the 40-year-old Nashville designer hoped this morning to secure a business loan, or at least raise awareness about the difficulties of getting money in the poor economy.

“I figure I can get my story told out here,” she said, standing at the corner of Fifth Avenue North and Church Street.
Find out where this goes here.

Photo credit: Brian Reisinger, Nashville Business Journal

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Significant Workplace Inequality Still Exists

And guess what that means? More women will be starting businesses than ever before, especially when encouraged to become an entrepreneur at an earlier age.

According to breaking news over at New Brunswick, Canada:
From the public school system to municipal, provincial and federal politics, steps must be taken to create the equality of access to which women are entitled. It may be "a free country," as far as the law is concerned, but people tend not to choose professions in which they see few role models, or where the prevailing culture feels unwelcome. This is where intervention can make a big difference.

The drive to encourage women to become business owners and corporate managers should be part of a general move to teach children entrepreneurial skills (as pictured) and financial literacy. By high school ...
Read more here.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

What Do The Snooty Fox and Conductive Learning Center Have In Common?

They are both run by Donna Speigel (pictured), a talented and compassionate entrepreneur. Background coverage here.

The Snooty Fox, a chain of upscale consignment shops in the greater Cincinnati area.

The Conductive Learning Center, benefits children with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida and other motor challenges. Donna is founder and Executive Director of the center which opened three years ago.

Catch her interview March 1, 2010 on the World News with Diane Sawyer here and learn how her love, entrepreneurial drive and dedication has led to all this amazing work.

Congratulations Donna. We are very proud of you and your accomplishments!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Motivation for Starting a Business? No Job Search Callbacks

Inspiration is overflowing in this article. Cinde Dolphin (pictured) was a marketing manager for Coors for 24 years and took a buyout. She relaxed on the beaches of New Zealand, went whitewater rafting on the Yampa River in Colorado and saw friends and Broadway shows in New York.

But ... after a few months ... guess what? Cinde got a little bored.
So at age 55, she began applying for marketing jobs, confident she would be quickly hired because of her Coors pedigree. “About four months into my job search, I realized I wasn’t getting many callbacks,” she said.
So she started a public relations firm that helps winemakers like Story Winery in California.

You must read the full story here.

Photo credit: Jim Wilson, The New York Times