Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

Women’s Small Business Month at the WBDC

We live in a world where women truly mean business. Women businesses have made great strides in the last decade. 60 percent of all personal wealth in the U.S. is held by women. 85 percent of all consumer purchases in the U.S. are made by women. Women over the age of 50 have a combined net worth of $19 trillion. And globally, women are responsible for $20 trillion in spending, a number that is expected to rise to $28 trillion by the end of 2014.


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Office of Women Business Ownership (OWBO) and Women’s Business Center programs (WBCs) has paved the way for women business owners (WBOs) to succeed in business and expand in the opportunities created from the Women’s Business Ownership Act. The 25th anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988, a landmark piece of legislation that put an end to state laws that required women to have male relatives sign business loans, has also given women entrepreneurs increased access to counseling and training, capital and contracts.

Despite October being Women’s Small Business Month, the WBDC recognizes and commemorates the fact that women are a dominant driving force to economic growth and development – creating jobs with 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the U.S year round.

It was not that long ago in 1986, when less than 10% of U.S. businesses were women-owned.  In the workplace, women earned only $24,479 to men’s $38,088 in annual wages. These statistics, and the lack of women in positions of power and leadership, spurred Hedy M. Ratner and Carol Dougal to create the WBDC, one of the first women’s business assistance centers in the U.S. The WBDC has grown from a two-person operation to a national leader in women’s economic development.  The WBDC has grown to a staff of 32 full-time employees and consultants, a roster of expert trainers, and a powerful Board of Directors comprised of successful women business leaders from across the WBDC’s nine-state Midwest region.

But importantly, our clients, speak for what we stand for. Ninva Concepcion, owner of Little Kid n Me Daycare/ Learning Center, explains “As a woman entrepreneur, there will always be obstacles and people who try to bring you down, but for every person who doubts you, there will be three people, like Janice, Eva and I, who will encourage you to keep going, stay determined and follow your dreams!” Women like Ninva Concepcion helps to propel the mission of the WBDC, which is to provide services and programs that support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen their impact on the economy.

Think of women like Hedy, Carol, Ninva and the millions of other women business owners as you build your business or make your purchasing decisions.  Make every month Women in Small Business Month.


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Business Tips for Women in Small Business from the Women’s Business Development Center

Happy Women in Small Business Month!  Today’s post is split into two parts – one for women looking to start their business soon and one for those already in business.  Look through both sets of questions and refer back to them as you continue to build your business muscle!

Women Starting A Small Business

It may come as no surprise to you, but being a small business owner can be a difficult and demanding enterprise.  Here at the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) we see many clients when they’re first starting and weighing out the feasibility of their idea. So how do you know if it’s a viable concept?  Does it have lasting power?  Below are 10 questions from www.SBA.gov to help you assess if you’re ready to start a business:

  1. Why am I starting a business?
  2. What kind of business do I want?
  3. Who is my ideal customer?
  4. What products or services will my business provide?
  5. Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
  6. What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?
  7. Where will my business be located?
  8. How many employees will I need?
  9. What types of suppliers do I need?
  10. How much money do I need to get started?

To read 10 additional questions from the SBA, please click here.  If you need help answering these questions, look no further than you local business center – find yours by searching here.

Women Already in Small Business

Have you been in business for a few years?  Do you feel like you’re an old pro at marketing your product or service?  Well maybe it’s time to take a new approach to your small business and try something new.  Here are 10 questions to ask yourself about your business and personal life.

When was the last time I…

  1. Attended a networking event?
  2. Attended a workshop?
  3. Updated my business plan?
  4. Hosted a customer appreciation event?
  5. Updated my LinkedIn profile?
  6. Updated my website?
  7. Used my own product/service?
  8. Explored new markets?
  9. Went on vacation?
  10. Hired someone new?

If you answer “I can’t remember” to any of these – it’s time to do it!  Go out, meet new contacts, learn new tricks of the trade, say thank you to your loyal clients and so on!  Don’t let your business stagnate! 

We want to know: What do you do on a regular basis to keep your business current?

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Filed under Advocacy, Business, Business Leaders, Business Start-up, Entrepreneur, Established Business, Small Business, Special Events, Uncategorized, WBDC, Women Business Owner, Women in Business

Mother Dearest: 6 Entrepreneurs and Their Mothers

Over the past weekend many of us spent time honoring the one woman who tells us how it is – our mother.  We have all thrown out what we think are great ideas only to have our mother give us that look as if to say, “Really?”  Every so often though, she’ll climb on board or give insightful, timely feedback, and it’s then that a new business is born or a cutting edge product created.   We often hear from the mogul, but what about their moms?  Take a look at the lessons learned from these six mothers.


What has your mother taught you?


Sources: http://www.lemonadestories.com/tpak.html- Kelly Reinhart

http://www.lemonadestories.com/defjam.html – Russell Simmons

http://bonnieprimmconsulting.com/ – Bonnie Primm

http://clientkudos.com/entrepreneurs-and-their-moms-the-sunday-snippet-5-13-12/ – Arthur Blank

http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Martha-Stewart-Remembers-Her-Mom-Video – Martha Stewart

http://business.time.com/2012/05/09/can-entrepreneurship-be-taught-richard-bransons-mother-says-yes/ – Richard Branson

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May 17, 2012 · 9:15 am

Valentine’s Blog: What do you love most about owning your own business?

Valentine’s Day is a day spent showing the one we love special attention by sending flowers, chocolate and other trinkets of affection (hopefully all from a locally-owned establishment).  Let’s not overlook the love entrepreneurs have for their businesses.  This year we asked the question “What do you love most about owning your own business?” through Facebook, Twitter and on LinkedIn.  Check  out the responses below and leave a comment with what you love most!

“It is intoxicatingly fulfilling to realize a dream and feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose that I have never felt before”

Linda Quarshie is a recent WBDC FastTrac Graduate and owner of AOAactivewear. Learn more about her active wear line here and follow here @AOAactivewear.

“I love that I can think ‘outside the box’ to find a solution to unique needs as they arise without going through other channels for approval.  My business potential is only limited by my imagination.”
Robin Frank is a Long Term Care Analyst & Planning Strategist.  You can find out more about her business here or here.

“I love the politics of owning a love-driven company, I love the feeling that I can do something meaningful with my life by lifting other entrepreneurs, I love the freedom to create and explore new business opportunities, I love the dedicated people with whom I work – like the peeps in this group and I love the entrepreneur spirit.”

Lennie Rose is CEO of The Big Ooga, a Chicago-based small business and entrepreneur networking community.  Learn more here, or follow Lennie @BigOoga.

“I love the fact that it gives me the flexibility to do charitable work and spend quality time with my family without feeling guilty or like I’m undermining my career.”

Max Elliott is a Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning Attorney located in the Chicago area.  Learn more about her business here and follow her @maxelliottlaw.

“The ability to chose who I work with so they align with the beliefs and ethics of how I want business portrayed.”

Lori Johnson is the President of Ladies, Start Your Engines! LLC.  Learn more about her business here or follow her @LSYE.

“I like that my business is a reflection of me.  I like being able to push myself in ways I didn’t think I could.  Sounds trite but it’s absolutely true.”

Cynthia Collins Cieckiewicz is the owner of Uptown Soda Bread, learn more here or follow her @UptownSodaBread.

“I love that my business provides jobs for others!”

Adela Red is a product & service company that coordinates events, offer set and show services, as well as apparel and accessory products. Learn more about Adela Red here.

“I love being able to spend quality time with my family and still be able to use my type A personality to help other businesses succeed.”

Kimberly Loftis provides a broad range of financial management and business consulting services to a variety of clients as well as individuals. Learn more about Loftis Consulting here.

” I just sent out 2011 tax forms to my employees. I love providing jobs!”

Lauren Milligan is President of ResuMAYDAY, which provides resume development, interviewing skills coaching, networking coaching and everything that job seekers need to conduct a high-impact job search.  Learn more here and follow her company @ResuMAYDAY

“It’s the next best thing to giving birth! Creating your own business and watching it grow is amazingly fulfilling, particularly if your “baby” helps others grow within the industry as well.”

Jill Glaser is a Freelance Media Makeup Artist at Make Up First, LLC in Chicago.  Check out her company here and follower her @makeupfirstschool.

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Filed under Business, Business Start-up, Entrepreneur, Established Business, Small Business, Uncategorized, WBDC, Women Business Owner, Women in Business