Hot Topics    

How mentoring can help women-led businesses thrive

Support from peers can make all the difference

Support from peers can help women-led businesses thrive

The financial disparities between male and female entrepreneurs are far-reaching. Women-led businesses receive lower valuations, less capital and fewer conventional small business loans than those led by men. Women entrepreneurs also pay themselves less than men and often take the brunt of balancing their family’s needs while growing their business. In spite of these challenges, women-led businesses of all types are thriving across the United States, thanks in part to initiatives offering tactical support and networking opportunities.

Take it from Racquel Garcia, whose substance abuse recovery and life coaching business HardBeauty had substantial outside funding but needed guidance in becoming an efficient and sustainable operation. She applied to join the Milestone Circles program offered by the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center and funded by Wells Fargo Foundation.

READ MORE: Boss Lady with Kim Hoover

As part of Wells Fargo’s Connect to More program, the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center places women entrepreneurs from across the country into “circles” that receive virtual and in-person peer and professional coaching over 12 weeks, plus the support of a growing network of fellow business leaders. As of June 2022, the program has graduated more than 540 entrepreneurs in 47 states, with an aim of graduating another 1,000 women over the next 12 months. Built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, the goal is to create space for women to step away from business pressures, identify goals and support each other’s growth.

With the assistance of her program “sisters,” Garcia built two revenue streams that were less grant-dependent, growing her income by $200,000 in 12 weeks. But the impact of this support went beyond the business. For Garcia, who is one of the only women of color in her small Colorado town, the program was a rare opportunity to share her dreams with other women she would not have crossed paths with otherwise.

“Many women entrepreneurs suffer from imposter syndrome. This confidence gap and the systemic financial barriers and pressures faced by women entrepreneurs are just some of the reasons I saw a need for this program,” says Jenny Flores, head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo.

For Terriekka Cardenas, a sixth grade teacher, engineer and owner of Perceptive Engineering, having this support is what helped her embrace the title of CEO. “That was the first moment for me that I didn’t box myself in,” she says.

Others, such as Ruby Taylor, who graduated from the first Milestone Circle in 2021, haven’t stopped meeting with their peers after the initial 12 weeks. In 2020, Taylor created a card game, LEGACY!, to teach people how to close the racial wealth gap and have fun doing it. Being able to craft a mission statement while enrolled inspired her to amplify her vision and found Financial Joy School, which coaches Black families on building generational wealth.

“My circle is a tight-knit group that continuously supports each other when we get stuck. We’re just a telephone call away when we feel discouraged,” she said.

While founding and growing a business comes with risks, support from peers and mentors can make all the difference, say program organizers. “When you’re able to show up authentically and say what you need help with -- the real things, the hard things -- and people can come around and provide support in an environment free of competition or judgment, that’s really game-changing,” says Flores.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) monkeybusinessimages / iStock via Getty Images Plus

Other articles by HVP News Reporters

  • 4 ways to promote positive maternal mental health

    It's important to take good care of yourself

    The joys of raising and nurturing a baby are practically endless for new parents, yet there remain challenges to overcome. While it may be natural to focus attention and energy on caring for a new baby, it’s equally important for mothers to maintain their own mental health. read more »
  • Foot and ankle safety tips for the summer months

    7 facts you need to know

    From the beach to the backyard, taking care of your feet and ankles in summer is essential. read more »
  • Donate plasma to save lives this summer

    It's a meaningful way to give back to your community

    Plasma donation is an impactful, meaningful way to give back to your community this summer. By donating plasma, you can help people like Machelle Pecoraro. read more »
  • Reinvigorate your plant collection

    Annual Master Gardener Program Great Plant Swap and Sale

    The Annual Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County’s (CCEUC) Master Gardener “Great Plant Swap & Sale” Returns on Saturday, June 10, 2023 at the Forsyth Park Pavilion, 157 Lucas Avenue in Kingston. The proceeds benefit the Dominic Parise Master Gardener Scholarship. read more »
  • 5 garage safety tips

    Make sure everything is secure and functioning properly

    When you throw open the windows, you’ll likely be spending more time with the garage door open, too. Make access to your outdoor equipment safer with these tips to get your garage ready for the warmer months. read more »
  • 7 vegetables to grow easily in your home garden

    All you need is a little time and effort

    Growing fresh, healthy vegetables at home may not be as hard as it sounds. Novice gardeners just need good dirt, easy plants to grow, lots of sunshine and the right amount of water. read more »
  • 7 budget-friendly gardening hacks

    Tricks to help you create a cost-effective garden

    Gardening can be a simple way to beautify your yard, relieve stress and save money on your grocery bill, but like any hobby, you can get carried away buying necessary equipment. read more »
  • 2023 I Love My Parks Day Events

    Volunteer with your family to clean up a local state park

    I Love My Park Day is an annual event that brings together thousands of volunteers to enhance and celebrate New York's amazing parkland. read more »
  • Spinach and artichoke stuffed mushroom caps

    Simple, easy and delicious

    Bringing an element of elegance to your holiday celebration is easy when you start with party-pleasing ingredients, and great tasting food often starts with dairy. read more »
  • Parmesan crusted chicken

    Super easy to make

    Not only is this Parmesan Crusted Chicken dish delicious, it is super simple to make. read more »