Archive for July, 2009

Vera Bradley Grows From Local Shop to Global Empire


Two young entrepreneurs in 1987 set out to find quality driven luggage for women. When their search didn’t pan out, Barbara Bradley Baekgaard and Patricia Miller (pictured L-R) decided to make their own.

After stealing the show with neighborhood clothing displays, Baekgaard and Miller knew they needed to meet the growing demand and come up with a solid business plan. The two fashion forward women contacted SCORE in Ft. Wayne. They met with mentor George Cook who gave them the business advice they needed to grow their company into a fashion empire.

With help from SCORE, Vera Bradley Designs transformed from a neighborhood trend to a global brand. Even as a global, multimillion dollar company, the two owners say they never hesitate to contact SCORE for business advice.

Read more here.

Posted by: Laurel Delaney

Global Women Entraordinaires Help Other Women


Martha St Jean at the Huffington Post writes, “Women, Work, Jobs and Advice:  A Talk with Janet Hanson,” which covers a conversation with Janet Hanson, founder of the global women’s network 85 Broads.

Read the interview here.

Photo:  Janet Hanson (right).

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

A Woman Entrepreneur Is Born To Go Global


You must see this video to appreciate what 17-year-old Zoe Damacela, owner of Chicago-based Zoe Damacela Apparel, has accomplished through tremendous discipline and hard work.  It won’t be long before Zoe takes her business global.

You watch, literally, here.

Visit Zoe’s MySpace page here.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

Calling All Women Entrepreneurs From Sarawak


Are you a woman entrepreneur based in Sarawak (one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo) and looking to expand your business into the international market?  You’ve come to the right place.

Be more proactive and come forward to make use of the various financial assistance and development programs available to you, so that the government can achieve its intention of raising the capacity (e.g., growing global) of SMEs.

Go here for more information.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

Women in Construction Worldwide Rock


You’ve got to take your hard hat off (pardon the pun) to these women who are making a success of their profession despite operating against all odds.


Making it in a Man’s World:  Construction Women in the U.K. (there’s a video too).

Let us know what you think.

A resource in the United States:

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

When It Comes To Exporting, Women Entrepreneurs Are Where The Action Is

Yabby Preparation At Cambinata Yabbies

Where’s all the action with exports? With women entrepreneurs. Women are becoming increasingly important among the world’s exporters because many women run small businesses.

In Australia, for example, women run one-third of all small businesses. If this trend continues, many new exporting businesses will be run by women entrepreneurs, or will have women in key positions.

In anticipation of more talent to come, Austrade has set up a Women in Export program. There are more than 19,000 women export executives in Australia, but there is plenty more talent out there.

The program encourages networking and mentoring among women exporters and business groups to raise awareness of Austrade programs such as the New Exporter Development Program and Export Market Development Grants.

Who are some of Australia’s biggest women entrepreneur exporters? Find out here.

Photo:  One of Australia’s powerful women entrepreneur exporters, Cambinata Yabbies.

Posted by:  Laurel Delaney

Clues to the Rules for Credit


Securing credit can be a headache for a small business owner, especially when she is trying to make her business global.  With payments lagging in a recessionary economy and exchange rates in constant flux, small business owners need to smooth out cash flow with credit lines and loans. For those eyeing opportunity, credit can also be the key to strategic expansion or repositioning in this changing economy.

Earlier this year, Digital Insight and Emergent Research held a roundtable on small business credit to identify just where small businesses could turn for credit.  The attendees concluded that credit unions and community banks are among the most committed to small business lending.  Yet, as the roundtable report indicates, the standards of those lenders are high, and lending depends on a solid financial story from those seeking loans.

So what makes your story stand out from all others?

At last week’s Intuit Town Hall Tweet Chat on Small Business Credit (#intuitth), experts in small business lending discussed this issue. The advice from the session maps a solid path for credit applicants and was consistent with the roundtable research.

To secure lines of credit or loans, you must first establish a personal relationship with your banker. Building confidence and commitment by investing in that relationship can make or break a deal.

Second, be armed with well-organized, comprehensive financial data.  Prepare more than you expect to need, just in case that extra question gets asked.

Lastly — and most important — know the story behind your numbers.  Be able to breathe life into your business plan, depict your customers in detail, show your industry expertise and be an authority on the region and culture in which you operate.

In a credit-tight market, your knowledge of your business and your market makes a difference in how one views your credit risk.   Tell your story to the lenders evaluating your loan request.  If you do not paint your own profile, the banks will do it for you…and they’ll do it without knowing who you and your business really are.

Posted by:  Carolyn Ockels

New U.S.-Saudi Women’s Forum on Social Entrepreneurship


Coming soon … leaders from four institutions will present the second of three modules to 30 undergraduate women from Saudi Arabia.

The Center for Women’s Leadership at Babson and The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College have partnered with two renowned global organizations — Dar Al Hekma College, Saudi Arabia, and ICF International — to deliver The U.S.-Saudi Women’s Forum on Social Entrepreneurship July 13-24, 2009 at Babson College.

Leaders from all four institutions will present the second of three modules to 30 undergraduate women from Saudi Arabia. Module I launched earlier this year in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Faculty from the partnering institutions will work with students to refine the skills they need to create real plans for entrepreneurial ventures, including how to navigate the challenges of designing and delivering social entrepreneurship programs, enhancing leadership skills, and cultivating the creative processes necessary for success.

In addition, several successful female entrepreneurs with ventures in corporate social responsibility, traditional not-for-profits, and social entrepreneurship, will share their experiences during the program’s speaker series component. Module III will be held at Dar Al Hekma College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in December 2009/January 2010.

Read more here.

Additional resources:

U.S.-Saudi Women’s Forum on Social Entrepreneurship

U.S.-Saudi Women’s Forum on Social Entrepreneurship Blog

Babson College blog post 7/28/09

Posted by: Laurel Delaney

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