Archive for the 'Business Development' Category

Teach a Woman to Fish & Go Global, and You’ll Feed Her & Her Business for a Lifetime

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Everyone knows the classic adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

But wegg® knows, “Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and go global, and you feed her and her business for a lifetime.” This idea is the essence of wegg®’s mission: “to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global, so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.”

Our goal as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is to teach the women entrepreneurs of the world how to take their businesses global, and we are always thrilled to hear about the triumphs of women entrepreneurs around the world. Recently, we read a New York Times article covering the reform of Rwanda’s fishing industry, from an exclusively male world, to a community of women entrepreneurs. Author Shannon Sims describes the change,

“The intense physical work and danger that comes with fishing on Lake Kivu, along with reinforcement from traditional gender roles, kept women from fishing for generations, tending to backyard farms instead. But in post-genocide Rwanda, that seems to be changing. Today, women form an essential part of the national market for Lake Kivu fish. Besides fishing on the lake at night, women also gather along the shores in the early morning to buy the fish the fisherwomen deliver. They then haul those fish home to their small villages, or sell the fish to cooperatives.”

This newfound emphasis of women on the business side of Rwanda’s fish economy has inspired the development of Projet Pêche, a fishing cooperative made up of 87 women, in Kibuye, a town along the banks of Lake Kivu. This collective has had a supremely positive impact on the lives of Rwandan women. Just listen to one woman, Bonifrida Mukabideri’s, account,

“A lot of women have used the cooperatives to fight poverty. Here in Rwanda we now have the idea that women and men can do every job…Now a woman can say: ‘I can build a house by myself. I can look after my family properly. And even if my husband dies, we can live a better life.’”

wegg® would love to help global women entrepreneurs like Mukabideri feed themselves, their families, and their communities for a lifetime…by fostering an expanding global business that thrives for generations. For more information on the resources wegg® has to offer women entrepreneurs, check out our education page.

 

Meet wegg®’s Design and Technology Lead, Laura Fairman

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I am in pursuit of global reach and purpose. I’m continually asking myself… Is my work helping our world become a better place?” 

-Laura Fairman, Design and Technology Lead for wegg®

Meet wegg®’s Design and Technology Lead, Laura Fairman! She has had the pleasure of being involved with our organization since wegg®’s inception in 2008. Our Communications Intern, Lucy Brooks, sat down with Laura to interview her. Check out our feature on Laura, to learn more about her, and what goes on behind the scenes at wegg® .

Lucy Brooks: How would you describe your position at wegg®? What do you oversee and do for the organization?

Laura Fairman: I have a unique relationship with wegg® because I work for wegg® as a contractor for design, art direction, project management and technology support. I am also a founding board member, serving on the board since 2015. My goal as a board member is to be the voice of design, guiding the organization toward supporting key design initiatives, like rebranding and launching a new website. At the same time, I’m always looking to strengthen the organization’s visual cohesiveness and continuity across their many print and digital offerings.

LB: What has your professional background been like? How did you come to work for wegg®?

LF: I’m a creative through and through. I graduated from Vanderbilt University as a Fine Arts major with a double minor in music and European studies. I began my career in the arts as a portrait painter, but swiftly moved into graphic and web design to supplement my passion with consistent work. In 2001, I began my own small business, Blue Canvas (bluecanvas.net). 17 years later, I’m still creating print and digital work for small- and mid-size businesses across many industries: medical practices, nutraceuticals, health and wellness, financial advisors, law firms, technology, trade shows and events, engineering, publishing, restaurants, and nonprofits.

Through a shared client, my path crossed with wegg®’s founder, Laurel Delaney. My earliest project with Laurel Delaney dates back to August of 2007, with the redesign of the Globe Trade website. This early site was developed entirely in html, and content management systems had not yet become the norm. A lot has changed in the digital space in the last decade! Clients are managing their website content entirely on their own, and they are constantly pushing new information to their audiences. To achieve this, they are relying heavily on social media outlets, creating video blogs, online community groups, and organizing live webinar presentations with 100s of attendees online. Websites used to be simply an extension of a business card. They have become the digital handshake for a company, where making a great first impression is paramount. It’s fun to see the evolution of the digital space, and Laurel is consistently folding the current trends into her businesses, particularly with wegg®.

LB: What part of wegg®’s mission, “To educate women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global, so they can run healthier businesses, and create a new future for themselves, their families and their communities,” resonates with you, and how does your work connect with, or support this mission?

LF: I am in pursuit of global reach and purpose. I’m continually asking myself… Is my work helping our world become a better place?

I have found joy working with non-profit organizations because they are doing good things, and because the leaders are so passionate about what they are trying to achieve. In wegg®’s case, the mission is to educate, and they are meeting this goal with the production of free monthly wegginars® on a variety of topics designed to help women business owners and execs improve their businesses, their communities, and their lives.

I have created the outreach graphics and participated as an organizer on over 30 wegginars®. Truth be told, I have been actively involved in every single wegginar®. I’m proud to be able to say that. Each of these wegginars® are available to watch on the wegg® website, so the work is continually giving back (and hopefully inspiring!)…and that feels great.

LB: What moves, projects, or strides do you hope wegg® takes in the coming year?

LF: wegg® is still in its founding years, and we have big plans ahead. In recent months we have been focusing on sharing expertise, and we are continually meeting this intended goal. What I’d like to see in the months to come is a focus on the women of wegg®. Let’s share the stories of those women that have been measurably impacted by the resources wegg® has provided them. I’d like to see wegg® do focus features and videos of these success stories.

The second part is to see this piece realized globally. Is there a woman-owned factory in India producing woven textiles and is now exporting these products globally because they’ve learned how to do so from wegg®? Has a woman from Bangladesh achieved success for her family and community because of a business connection she made through wegg®? We want to meet these women! And, I’d like to share these global stories of impact visually.

LB: What has been your most meaningful project to take on, event you have been apart of, or moment you have had during your time here?

LF: My personal goal was to help wegg® rebrand and build a global digital platform to aid them in achieving their education mission. Under my art direction, we launched the new logo at the beginning of 2018, and we are very close to realizing our goal of launching a new education-driven website. These two projects have been the most meaningful to me, because rather than stepping in and creating a brand, I helped guide and direct the process of wegg®’s new identity. I was able to connect wegg® with an incredibly talented designer from Seattle, Gabriel Lopez. Bringing the visual goals for wegg® to fruition has been a laborious process, but when you have great people on your team, like Gabriel and Laurel, who are willing to collaborate and put the time in, it makes the work worthwhile.

wegg® thanks Laura for sharing her story with us. She is an integral part of our team, and has helped our organization thrive. To learn more about what wegg® can do for you and your business, visit our website.
Registration is open and free for our 12/5 talk with Andrew Molinsky, Ph.D. He will talk about how, “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.” Register here.

Everything You Need to Know from Our wegginar® with Cristina Bandal

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This past Wednesday, wegg® had the pleasure of hosting the Industry Segment Manager of Retail and Consumer Goods for UPS, Cristina Bandal. Bandal lead one of our free online wegginars®, which provide monthly, accessible education to women entrepreneurs everywhere. Bandal’s talk covered how to overcome the obstacles that people face when trying to sell their products to the global market. She also answered the questions of wegginar® participants. Read their inquiries, and her responses, below:

  1. What’s the single biggest challenge on why people don’t setup an online storefront?  Setting up an international store may sound complicated if you are thinking of creating a country site – but with only a few enhancements, you can make international customers feel at home. 
  2. What are your thoughts on how to factor in taxes, (shipping and duty), to price my products profitably, yet make them affordable to my customers?  With the solution available, your catalogue will provide the information needed to calculate a duty and tax, and offer a landed cost to your customers (and protect you from abandoned goods!)
  3. How does our current trade war with China impact the information presented in this wegginar®?  Whatever tariff regulations are passed are updated to protect the shipments.
  4. Is there a way to target one foreign market when I launch my e-commerce site so that I can test the waters?  YES!!  You can choose what countries to target.
  5. What’s the best way to setup a payment method, in your own currency or the customer’s?  International consumers would like to see their own currency to avoid surprises. By using the UPS i-parcel solution, you are protected by allowing transactions to be processed through UPS, and provide fraud protection.

To read Bandal’s extended answers to these questions, and more, you can view the full presentation (PDF) from the wegginar®, here. wegg® was honored to have Bandal share her experience and knowledge with us.

If you were not able to participate in this month’s wegginar®, we already have registration open for our 12/5 talk with Andrew Molinsky, Ph.D. He will talk about how, “if you are not outside your comfort zone, you won’t learn anything.” Register here.

Girlboss to Launch New Social Network for Young Women Entrepreneurs

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A recent Wall Street Journal article reports that, “Girlboss, a media company targeting women entrepreneurs, plans to introduce a paid, professional social-networking site called Girlboss Collective in January.” This new platform will be structured for the ever evolving career paths of millennial women, with profiles highlighting users’ character as opposed to work experience.

GirlBoss Collective will, “fit the professional networking needs of young women, many of whom have multiple part-time jobs or career gaps that look out of place on a traditional résumé. Girlboss Collective is being designed with women in mind, although it will be open to people of any gender, the company said.”

Membership for the site will reportedly be less than $15 a month, and users will have access to video footage of notable female speakers in high offices of various industries.

The WSJ article goes on to detail,

“Ms. Amoruso envisions a community of subscribers helping one another on professional matters both trivial and large, from negotiating raises to finding an intellectual property attorney in their area….Girlboss has prototyped the concept of its private social network with a Facebook group called “Girlboss Gang” that has more than 5,700 members, Ms. Amoruso added. She said more than 15,000 users are already on a wait list to join Girlboss Collective, which will be an invite-only, U.S.-based network in its testing phase.”

Everyone here at wegg® is excited by the mission of Girlboss Collective, and we hope to partner with Amoruso and her company in the future. wegg® knows that the key to female entrepreneurial success is connecting with each other, to build an unstoppable global network.

wegg® keeps energizing women entrepreneurs the world over. We can help you build confidence, find great resources and show you the steps you can take to go global. Join us for our FREE wegginar® on 11/7 with Cristina Bandal. You can find all of the details, and register for the event, here.

Make Your Global Online Shoppers Feel at Home Wherever They Are

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Registration is still open for our FREE November 7th, 2018 wegginar®, with presenter Cristina Bandal, Industry Segment Manager of Retail and Consumer Goods for UPS.

Cristina has an extensive career with UPS, working within the marketing functions. She has worked with merchants in the retail and high tech industries. Cristina makes customer experiences valuable, by improving the shopper’s experiences. Her most recent assignment helps enable merchants to sell outside the US through UPS technology.

If 95% of the worlds population lives outside the US, why are some merchants still only selling to the domestic market? Complex rules, costly risks and high transportation costs make it difficult for small businesses to merge into new markets. UPS i-parcel not only offers a solution to these merchants, but provides a frictionless experience to international consumers.

wegginar® participants can expect to learn how to…

  1. Offer international consumers the same shopping experience on your website that you offer to shoppers in the US.

  2. Avoid complicated and costly international shipping that will ultimately improve your conversion rate.
  3. Enable new international markets with just a click and reach a world of consumers.
  4. Make your online shoppers feel at home anywhere

wegg® aims to make resources for going global accessible to all women entrepreneurs, and our wegginars® are free thanks to our sponsors. To register for the event, visit this link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8810009934736118275 

The Rise of Women ‘Millennipreneurs’

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The Female Entrepreneurs Institute has reported that there is a new generation of wildly successful business owners, who are all under thirty-five years of age. The ‘millennipreneur’ model of business has proven to be advantageous worldwide. The Institute explains,

“[This new] approach to business differs from that of their elders in terms of their ambitions, results and leadership style. Among the successful business owning millennials studied in this research, some 78% come from families with a history of running their own businesses. As a group, each has already established on average 7.7 companies, compared with an average of 3.5 among the 50-and-over Baby Boomers.”

A contemporary and forward-thinking entrepreneurship can be seen in this new generation’s most lucrative areas of business. The top three sectors of wealth for millennipreneurs were listed as: retail (12.5%), professional services (8.5%), and technology (7.3%).

This new generation of business owners has paved a way for women business owners, specifically. The proof is in the numbers…

“89% of women entrepreneurs surveyed expecting growing or stable profits in the next 12 months. Female millennipreneurs are aiming even higher with close to 75% expecting business profits to increase in the next 12 months…”

wegg® knows that the future of entrepreneurship is women entrepreneurship. We can help you start your business, or show you the steps you can take to go global. Join us for our FREE wegginar® on 10/3 with Katie Kollhoff, founder and CEO, NUMiX. You can find all of the details, and register for the event, here.

President and CEO Julie Smolyansky on “Following Your Gut”

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This past Wednesday September 12th, President and CEO of Lifeway Kefir, Julie Smolyansky lead a wegg® workshop about the importance of following your gut on business and personal endeavors. Her inspiring talk covered the journey of Lifeway beginning in her parent’s basement, in the mid-eighties, when they began making Kefir, a food inspired by their home country, the former Soviet Union.  It is now a $120 million publicly-traded company, thanks to Julie. She grew Lifeway to the size it is now, without a business degree, and became CEO at age 27, when her father suddenly passed away. Smolyansky shared the story of how one of her father’s friends reacted when he died and she was made CEO…

“[He said] ‘forget it, the company is done. Sell all of your stock tomorrow. There’s no way a 27 year old girl could run a company.’ This is done. Lifeway is over…I go into the office Monday morning…and everyone had sold their stock….It was devastating…[I] picked my head up and moved forward. Then, we had 70 people, today we have 320. We’ve grown our business from 12 million to 120 million…We continued to execute on the strategy we believed in, and continued to follow our gut, and worked really really hard….That man who said ‘she’s never gonna do it,’…I literally think about him every day. I say ‘thank you’, ‘thank you so much for underestimating me, for pissing me off, and making me angry…You gave me the fuel to move forward.”

Smolyansky went on to describe how being a young CEO became a strength for her. She followed her gut and made Lifeway one of the first businesses ever to have an active social media presence. She explained, “We were ahead of the game…Vogue called us ‘avant garde’ for being on social media.”

She also shared her beliefs on the importance of female entrepreneurship,

“If women were employed at the same rates as men, we know the global GDP would rise exponentially…That I think is really important. A rising tide raises all ships, and when women create jobs, an entire community is more safe and stable….Women are the key to saving the world…Entrepreneurship…can heal the world.”

Other inspiring takeaways from Smolyansky’s talk…

  • Keep moving ahead no matter what your challenges are in life.
  • Make a big impact:  it only takes one person one step at a time to change the world.
  • Follow your gut (we should all listen to our intuition on important matters in life).

Thank you to Julie, and her team, Justine and Maria, for making our on-the-ground wegg® workshop a success.  And thank you to Bank of America, Moji Eagan and Aneta Mazur, for hosting us.

If you were not able to make this wegg® workshop, we are having a wegginar® on Wednesday, October 3rd with Katie Kollhoff, CEO, NUMIX.  She’ll present on “Small Startup, Big Impact.”  Thanks to our sponsors, IBM, UPS, Bank of America and GlobalCare Clinical Trials, the program is no charge but you must register to attend, here.

Women Entrepreneurship in the EU: The Numbers

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On a global scale, women are less likely than men to start their own businesses. This is evident from the above graph, taken from the “Policy Brief on Women’s Entrepreneurship.” The data shows that in every EU country, from 2010-14, there were significantly less female owners of new businesses, than male.

Why is this the reality?

The OECD SME and Entrepreneurship analysis proposes that a:

“…key factor in explaining the gender gap is the social and institutional context [of the countries]. Paradoxically, national-level gender equality is negatively associated with women’s self-employment choice compared to men’s (Klyver et. al., 2013), suggesting that gender equality policies in the labour market may cause women to prefer employment over self-employment (Nielsen et. al., 2010). Similarly, more supportive work-family institutions are associated with larger gender gaps in terms of business size, growth aspirations, innovativeness and use of technology. This appears to indicate that it is important to look beyond simple proportions of women and men entrepreneurs to the motivations and quality of the business, with the hypothesis that greater gender equality may improve good quality businesses and business creation based on positive choices by women, while reducing poorer quality business creation based on lack of choice.”

One of the economic reasons that women might choose employment over the entrepreneurial self-employed path, is that self-employed women make less money than self employed men, on average. This finding is displayed in the graphic below:

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Other factors, such as lack of resources and training for women in business, are consistently cited as justification for the lack of women entrepreneurs in the global . market. This apparent neglect of a business education for women is highlighted in the graph below:

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As displayed by the image, at least thirteen out of the twenty-two countries in the EU showed a significant gender gap in perceived accessibility to business training. This is where wegg™ can help. Our mission is to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.

We provide monthly resources for women entrepreneurs to become educated on current business strategies in order to go global. If you are interested in entering business, or growing the business you already have, wegg™ can help you. Please check out our website, to discover possibilities you did not even know existed.

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JOIN us for our morning wegg™ workshop on September 12th and hosted by Bank of America (135 S. LaSalle Street, 44th Floor).  Julie Smolyansky, President and CEO, Lifeway Foods, will present “Follow Your Gut,” covering:

  • How global factors influence company values and mission
  • Why we should empower women entrepreneurs around the world
  • How to channel inspiration from travel experiences into marketing initiatives

Tickets $40 ($20 for students); includes Continental Breakfast.  To learn more and to register, visit:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/weggtm-workshop-follow-your-gut-presented-by-julie-smolyansky-tickets-48655708534
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WEGG Mission

Our mission is to educate, inspire and nurture women business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide on how to go global so they can run healthier businesses and create a new future for themselves, their families and their community.


Women Entrepreneurs GROW Global is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. EIN/Tax ID #47-2956522.

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