By: Sarah Chamberlain
In 2017, the 11.6 million women-owned firms in the United States generated nearly $2 trillion in sales. Here in Bucks County, it is estimated that nearly 20,000 firms are women-owned, creating jobs and helping our local economy grow and thrive. It’s undeniable that these businesses, firms, and local success stories have a significant impact on our nation’s growing economy.
Even as more women-owned firms continue to open and create revenue, they are still growing at a slower rate and earning less than male-owned companies. What’s worse, when accessing revenue and capital to help start their businesses, women receive disproportionately less than men do. According to Fortune, women received just over 2% of venture capital funding in 2016.
That’s why, on June 28th, we partnered with the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce, the Society for Human Resource Management, Après, the National Association of Women Business Owners Greater Philadelphia Chapter, and the Newtown Athletic Club to bring the Women2Women Conversations Tour to Bucks County. “Count me in!” we said, and together with the help of these robust businesses and local leaders, we joined almost 200 local women to ignite the conversation about successful entrepreneurship and civic engagement right here at home.
When it was created in 2014, the idea of the tour was to begin a dialogue across the country between women, local and national lawmakers, and key business leaders. For the last four years, the tour has done exactly that. From Orange County, California to Charlotte, North Carolina, participants have spoken with hundreds of attendees to share best practices, exciting new ways to become involved and engaged, and how to bridge the gap between Washington, D.C. and their local communities.
Members of Congress have joined the tour to speak with women all over the country about their businesses, the local and national political discussions, and what issues they and their families are currently facing. At every stop, one thing is made very clear — every issue is a women’s issue. The Women2Women Tour attendees are passionate and have joined us to learn more, help others, and network with those who are helping to affect real change.
Getting anything done in Washington may seem like a long-shot at times, but since the first tour stop in 2014, the Women2Women tour has been influential in drafting and passing legislation to connect those in need with better mental health care, combat the opioid epidemic, and advance the discussion on flexible paid leave time for working families. In Bucks County, we wanted to hear about the issues facing women business owners and how we can help each other improve, excel, and succeed in the workplace.
Our goal was to use the momentum and excitement from previous tour stops to empower and improve outcomes for local female entrepreneurs, and to share best practices and tools with those who are looking for ways to be more involved in their communities. From volunteering at your children’s school, to starting your own small business, to running your first campaign for public office, the opportunities to reach out and affect change in your community are endless.
During our conversation at the Newtown Athletic Club, we shared networking tips, ways to break through the glass ceiling, and the importance of mentoring. We were thrilled to be discussing these pressing issues, and are excited to reach out and help connect the dots while making sure each audience member leaves with valuable, actionable information.
You can learn more about our #CountMeIn movement here. You can follow our panelists on social media and stay in-touch for updates below.
Can we count you in?
Sarah Chamberlain is the President and CEO of Republican Main Street Partnership and the founder of the Women2Women Conversations Tour. Denise Bowman is a Partner at Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, LLP. Angela Giovine is the President and Founder of Happenings Media. Mazda Miles is the President of National Association of Women Business Owners — Greater Philadelphia Chapter. Linda Mitchell is the Director of Public and Government Relations at the Newtown Athletic Club.
Originally published at www.ellevatenetwork.com.