She Means Business: Workshops to help Vermont women connect, collaborate

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:07 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont organizations are working together to connect women in the business world all around the state.

The Vermont Small Business Development Center and several other organizations came together to put on a series of workshops being offered to women in the community called “She Means Business.” It’s part of the center’s Community Navigator Pilot Program for those who want to start or improve their business. Women from the community came to learn new skills, like Heather Wilson who owns Bombshell Art.

“I noticed that a lot of women from the area who own businesses were going to be attending. It looked like an amazing program. I came to learn a little bit and do some networking and meet some other wonderful, amazing women in business,” Wilson said.

The ladies in this class learned about different kinds of business models, target markets, how to identify your customers and how to reach them.

Guest speaker Faye Longo says events like this encourage women they have what it takes to start a business.

“We think that we always need to check every box before we can do the thing, apply for the job or start the business, and that’s just not true. I think just overcoming that self-doubt, identify their passion, and help them see themselves as what they are working toward,” Longo said.

In the last three years throughout the pandemic, more than 60% of businesses were started by women, according to the Vermont Small Business Development Center. This program helps them navigate the challenges they may face.

“I think to just be able to network with other women who are either starting their business or running existing businesses, whether they have been in it for a year or thirty years, it’s really helpful to get that feedback,” said Jadziah Derosia of West Rutland.

The Vermont Small Business Development Center hopes to take these workshops across the state moving forward to connect with more business owners.