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#WomenOwned #WomenInBusiness #GirlBoss #BossLady #Fempreneur #Mompreneur

The hashtags say it all. It’s Women’s History Month, and women are making history here, there, and everywhere. We are highlighting some outstanding local, regional, and international women-led, women-inspired organizations that can help you write the next chapter of your business history. Correction! This month it’s “herstory.”

The Founding Moms

Jill Salzman of The Founding Moms took her mom-led, mom-inspired networking idea from here in Chicago to everywhere, including Japan, South Africa, Australia (foundingmums.com, naturally), Guatemala and back to Oregon, Texas, and Tennessee. Jill was running two companies and caring for two children when she realized combining all those superpowers could lead to incredible networking opportunities and business support systems for other women entrepreneurs, moms or not. Online, The Founding Moms offers free ideas about marketing tools, social media management, business insurance, and accounting, as well as a free webinar. Offline, in-person weekly exchanges, FMCs, are The Founding Moms’ superpower. Joining an FMC offers the opportunity to “get down to business” with like-minded entrepreneurial women who problem solve and brainstorm together in an empowering environment. Jill calls it “savvy and sassy.” We would add “simply smart.”

Women’s Business Development Center

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) will tell you “women’s business ownership is the fastest growing segment of our economy.” The WBDC has been helping “leading lady” entrepreneurs since 1986 and offers specific programs for childcare businesses, women veterans and, recently, technology fempreneurs. With locations in Chicago’s Loop and Little Village neighborhood, as well as the south and west suburbs, access to the WBDC’s resources is never far. Workshops and events are also held in conjunction with WBDC satellites in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification is a key service offered by the WBDC. Nationally recognized and highly respected, WBE certification opens networking doors to organizations looking to work with women-owned companies and can be an influential marketing tool. The WBDC can also assist with business development, mentoring, and navigating finances. All this with your woman-led success top of mind.

Local Chicago Suburban Groups

Three local networking groups round out our list of resources for women-led businesses: West Suburban Women Entrepreneurs (WSWE), the Oak Park-River Forest (OPRF) Chamber of Commerce Women in Business group, and the Berwyn Development Corporation (BDC) Women in Business group. When I was ready to take Free Fly Marketing to the next level, I started to attend networking events with these groups which bring together women from a range of industries: real estate agents, accountants, artists, massage therapists, and more. With the purpose of developing personal and professional relationships, these organizations host regular meetings often led by local experts and/or members who share their experiences and offer advice. A recent perk of WSWE membership: A free professional headshot! I am pleased to share that I am one of three women leading the OPRF Chamber’s Women in Business group in 2019. Join us at our next meeting. You will be sure to find inspiration for your own “herstory”!

Need even more inspiration? “Backroads Boss Lady” Jessi Roberts tells “herstory” here:

https://www.marketplace.org/2019/03/11/business/big-book/running-online-retail-business-rural-america

Get in touch and write your own “herstory”:

The Founding Moms (Local, Regional, National, International)

  • Website: foundingmoms.com
  • Facebook: @foundingmoms
  • Twitter: @foundingmom
  • Instagram: @foundingmom
  • Additional connections: YouTube

Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) (Local, Regional, National)

  • Website: wbdc.org
  • Facebook: @WBDC.Chicago
  • Twitter: @WBDC
  • Phone: 312-853-3477

West Suburban Women Entrepreneurs (WSWE) (Local)

  • ***Next meet-up: Thursday, March 21
  • Website: wswe.org
  • Facebook: @WestSuburbanWomenEntrepreneurs

Oak Park-River Forest (OPRF) Chamber of Commerce – Women in Business (Local)

Berwyn Development Corporation (BDC) – Women in Business (Local)