HQ Update: Expanding our reach across Wisconsin through partnerships

By Heather Wentler

One of Doyenne’s guiding principles is the idea that women aren’t broken, but the ecosystem is. 

Women entrepreneurs operate in ecosystems that see them as less capable than men and do nothing to help level the playing field after years of discrimination in banking, lending, the job market, politics, everywhere. 

That’s why Doyenne spends as much time and effort working to change the environment women entrepreneurs operate in as we do equipping women with entrepreneurial skills and connecting them to resources and communities. 

In a Doyenne community, women entrepreneurs are recognized and respected for their ventures and economic clout. But it takes a lot of work—and collaboration with a lot of partners—to get there. 

Doyenne has identified 13 organizations from across northern and south central Wisconsin to start working with to bring the Doyenne influence to their entrepreneurial ecosystems, and connect their entrepreneurs with a community of women entrepreneurs and a host of opportunities to grow their businesses. 

Back in February, I started having conversations with a few of these potential partners. Those conversations went on pause when COVID hit, but we are now picking them back up. 

In March, we received a $65,000 grant from WEDC as part of their Entrepreneurship Support Program to continue this work in Madison, Milwaukee, and across the state. And now that we are back from our summer break, we are ready to pick up where we left off in February. 

We are seeking to collaborate with organizations that serve entrepreneurs across the state with three goals: 

  1. Identify gaps in current resources available within their communities

  2. Provide support to organizations to help them become more inclusive, take steps towards addressing gender imbalances, and close funding gaps within their communities

  3. Create pathways for women to be part of Doyenne and participate in our programs while living outside Madison & Milwaukee. 

Our pandemic-induced shift to virtual programming aligns nicely with our goal of bringing programming to entrepreneurs who live outside of a drivable radius to Madison and Milwaukee. We’re excited to be able to reach entrepreneurs outside of our core cities, especially because those women are often the ones who feel the most isolated in their founder’s journeys.

If you know of an organization that serves entrepreneurs and wants to become more inclusive, or you yourself work with an organization that aligns with our mission and principles, please connect them with us. You can reach out to me directly at heather@thedoyennegroup.com

Photo Credit: Travel Wisconsin