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Female Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Hickory, NC and Across the US

Posted By Jeanne Yocum, Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nation-wide growth in women-owned businesses exceeds all small businesses

The impact of female entrepreneurs on the American economy is greater than ever. Women own over 8.6 million businesses in the U.S., according to American Express OPEN’s 2013 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report: A Summary of Important Trends, 1997-2013 via Julie Weeks and Womenable. Together, these businesses generate over $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ nearly 7.8 million people. The growth in the number, revenues and employment of women-owned businesses during the 16 years covered by this report exceeds the growth rates of all but the very largest, publicly traded corporations in the country. 

 

Every day, the community colleges that make up the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) witness the impact the growth of female entrepreneurship is having on local communities as more and more women turn to NACCE members for entrepreneurship education and business support services. One such college is Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) in Hickory, North Carolina. There, Business Programs Department Head Gary Muller and Business Instructor Darcie Tumey talked with us about their observations.

 

Women-business owners represent all industries in Hickory

“The number of female entrepreneurs in our community is growing, and they are making a big impact on the revitalization of our economy,” says Gary Muller. “They are involved in all segments of the business community; there is not just one area that their businesses are addressing. Female entrepreneurs also are becoming much more visible in the business community; they holding many of the leadership roles in our community organizations and making a difference.”

 

Muller has observed that would-be female entrepreneurs take a different approach to starting their business than would-be male entrepreneurs do. “They do more analysis of the potential business before they push forward,” he says. “This is a key reason for their success. We see their male counterparts move forward with their passion, without thinking of the possible problems. Female entrepreneurs are more open to help and support, which enables them to make adjustments to their plans before big problems may adversely impact the business.”

 

Plethora of online resources to support small businesses

Muller and Tumey think one of the reasons more women are starting businesses is the availability of resources via the Internet that make it easier to explore opportunities than in the past. According to Tumey, who is also a NACCE Ambassador for HP LIFE, “Ten or twenty years ago, individuals would have to seek out information in person and deal with individuals in face-to-face situations. As a result, if an individual didn’t receive the information they needed or had a negative experience, then their search either ended and/or became more difficult. Today, the Internet has opened up a whole host of resources (for example, success stories, resources for a fee or free, examples of mistakes, and ideas). Women can learn from others, access resources 24/7, and still make arrangements to speak with individuals for assistance at Small Business Centers, banks, industry meetings, etc.”

 

HP LIFE e-Learning helps launch student businesses

Chrystal Hewitt is one of Tumey’s students who has benefitted by using technology to fuel her entrepreneurship learning. One of the tools she has used is HP LIFE e-Learning, an innovative e-learning program that Tumey uses to help her entrepreneurship students learn business and IT skills and to turn their business ideas into realities. Hewitt runs a business that is part of the auto industry but is planning to open a spa.

 

“I found HP LIFE to be very valuable in working on my business plan project, especially the financial modules,” says Hewitt. “The templates provided me with the format and an outline of how to set up my start-up costs and monthly expenses. We also used the HP LIFE modules to aid us in understanding the different sections of our business plan.”

 

Hewitt says her reliance on technology will continue as she gets her business of the ground. “In our spa business, we will be using technology in how we track our billing, book our clients, and track the income for renting out space to different individuals (message therapists, dermatologist, etc.),” she says.

 

Watch this video to learn more about how community college educators are using technology like HP LIFE to support women in achieve their goal of becoming entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

 

Tags:  Cata  female entrepreneurs  female entrepreneurship  HP LIFE  NACCE 

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