WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK
On Monday, November 13th I had the honor to be at the press conference where supporters of women entrepreneurs received a signed proclamation from the Wisconsin Governor proclaiming the week of November 12-18, 2017 to be Wisconsin Women Entrepreneur Week. This is the first time Wisconsin has officially recognized women entrepreneurs and the value we bring to the state’s economy, workforce, and innovative thinking.
As I stood in the Governor’s Press Room at the State Capitol, surrounded by many of my professional colleagues and personal friends, I took a minute to take in the whole experience. To really listen to the speakers talk so highly about women entrepreneurs and feel proud of this proclamation. This week is for all of us!
Not only is this week for us statewide, in Madison, Mayor Paul Soglin has also proclaimed November 19th to be Women Entrepreneurship Day.
Many of us will celebrate Women Entrepreneurship Week by attending the WEDWisconsin Conference on Tuesday, November 14. This first-time conference sold out to an expected 400 attendees! Many of the presenters, speakers, and Advisory Board are Doyenne members and supporters. I too sit on the Advisory Board and have been so amazed by what Laura Gallagher and the entire team has accomplished this year and know the day is going to be amazing, moving, and powerful for all who attend.
I also hope you’ll join Doyenne along with Revel Craft Bar at Revel on Friday, November 17th from 4-8 PM for a great event celebrating women entrepreneurs. Men, you’re welcome to join us too!
But what do we do after this week is over? After the dedicated days are over and we’re back to “normal”? My hope is that you continue to stand up and speak up for women entrepreneurs every day of the year, not just these days of recognition. The more we continue to show how valuable women-owned businesses are for our economy, the more likely we’ll continue to see women’s stats rise as far as the number of ventures, dollars earned, and investment dollars received.
CURRENT STATS OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN WISCONSIN:
- More than 1 in 3 businesses in Wisconsin are owned by women
- In 2016, women-led ventures received only 2% of awarded investment dollars (only 2%!!)
- Minority women-owned businesses are increasing at a rate of nearly three times that of all women-owned firms
- The Governor’s Business Plan Competition, organized by the Wisconsin Technology Council, saw the highest number of women-led businesses applications in 2017, with 30% being women-led. From the years 2014-2017, 7 of the 16 winners have been women-led companies
IT TAKES ALL OF US!
Being a supporter or ally of women entrepreneurs isn’t just “a women’s thing”. It takes everyone! It also takes more than just “talking the talk”. What I mean is, you have to do more than just say you’re supportive of women entrepreneurs when it’s convenient or when it looks good. You have to consciously make decisions in your everyday life as to how you are going to be a supporter or ally. Change isn’t going to happen overnight, it also isn’t going to change because key people are putting out sound bytes that make supporting women entrepreneurs the thing to do. To be a true supporter, you need to take steps to show you are making change happen in the business world for women entrepreneurs to succeed. When you make decisions, think about how you’re laying the groundwork for future generations of women, think of your daughters, nieces, granddaughters, and your neighbors, as to how you want them to be able to achieve more than is possible today.
I was reminded of a great quote today that fits perfectly with how we can all support women entrepreneurs, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!” – an African Proverb