Vermont women talk business in Burlington - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont women talk business in Burlington

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Dozens of women flocked to Burlington Monday night to talk business. Girls really had the power at Monday's Female Founders event. Women exchanged ideas and tips about how to become a successful entrepreneur. 

"The world is very much a boys club and it's nice to bond with other women and strategize," said Kortnee Bush, the owns Butch and Babe's, a restaurant in Burlington's Old North End.

Bush says being a woman in business can at times be frustrating.

"People just look at you when you're a woman and when you have ideas and it's kind of like, oh that's cute," Bush said. "You don't get the same response and respect as men." 

That's one of the reasons she went to the Female Founders event at the Hotel Vermont Monday.

"I try to use that as a motivation rather than a deterrent," said Bush.

About 80 women from across the state shared experiences and advice about how to succeed in business.

"I just think that people are maybe surprised to hear that there are so many talented, young professional women in the state and so, I think it's great to have events like this to get people together to put faces to names and recognize people on the street and feel like you're not alone," said Ashley Laport of Stowe. 

According to the National Women's Business Council, there are more than 9.4 million women-owned companies around the country. In Vermont, the Small Business Administration says there are 23,000 small businesses owned by women. That's about 30 percent of the nearly 80,000 small businesses in the state.

"I think we've come a long way but I think we still have a long way to go," Bush said. 

The Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies put on Monday's event to help in that effort.

"What better way to create some momentum, some mentoring opportunities and really some shared experiences that might help, the active, the aspiring or the accidental entrepreneurs," said David Bradbury of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies.

The Female Founders speakers were Jen Kimmich, co-founder of the Alchemist and Allison Hooper, co-founder of the Vermont Creamery. Hooper says the pathway to success could be difficult and even lonely, but maintaining self-confidence is key to getting past challenges.

"Start small and go for incremental growth, and not sort of try to conquer the world all at once. And I think that's a very sound way to grow a business here in Vermont," said Hooper. 

"I think it's important, especially in this political climate, keep their heads high and fight harder than ever," said Bush. 

Monday's event was the third of a six-part speaker series. The next one will be April 24.

Click here for more resources for women entrepreneurs.

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