Fran Bonner is not your average small business owner: She has been a caregiver for more than 67 years. When she was just 11 years old, her grandmother and great aunt both suffered from strokes, and Fran would spend her days going back and forth from school to home in order to make sure her loved ones were fed and taken care of.
In celebration of National Women’s Small Business Month, we co-hosted a Twitter chat with Women's Business Development Center (WBDC), Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) and CDC Small Business Finance to share resources and advice with women small business owners.
When you think of a harpy, you may picture a mythological half-bird, half-human creature. However, Harpy Information Technology Solutions in St. Louis is named for a very real bird—an eagle—found in South and Central America. Co-owner Laurie Calkins describes the harpy eagle as an incredibly majestic bird and says she was drawn to it because of its unapologetic hunting techniques.
“They go for what they want and they get what they need, no questions asked,” she says.
In October we celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month by sharing resources for small business owners and women’s stories of entrepreneurship. This year, we asked a panel of experts about their personal and professional experiences with women’s entrepreneurship.
While many of us are heading to pumpkin patches and apple orchards this month, Deb Ramirez Rock, owner of Sonoma Hot Sauce in Sonoma County, Calif., is encouraging her community to go pepper picking instead at her fourth annual harvest party.
“I’m an advocate for peppers over pumpkins,” Deb proclaims.
Harvest parties are a popular tradition in Sonoma County at this time of year and are one of the many reasons why Deb decided to base her business in Sonoma five years ago.
When her brother was first deployed to Iraq, Candy Alford embroidered every piece of clothing he owned, from his socks to his washcloths, with his name so his things wouldn’t get misplaced in the group laundry. Not only were the name tags practical, but they garnered quite a few compliments from her brother’s fellow pilots, and he suggested she turn her hobby into a business.
Growing up in Mexico, mornings for Nora Angeles were busy and often consisted of a trip to the neighborhood juice stand for a fresh juice or smoothie before school. This was an inexpensive and easy way for Nora’s mom to get her kids the nutrients they needed to start their day off right. After moving to America, this concept became the inspiration for Nora to start her own small business.
Cellie Mayol’s journey from CFO to entrepreneur was by no means traditional, but now she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Denver student Kamiya Willoughby is challenging preconceived notions about a popular type of food that is often construed as unhealthy and unsophisticated.
“Soul food is a legitimate cuisine, but most people see it as a snack or junk food that you can only eat every once in a while.” Kamiya said.
“It is such a classic American cuisine that deserves a spotlight and deserves a step away from the stereotypes,” added Tess Hurlbert, Kamiya’s fiancée and business partner.
When Noelle Curtis was working to clear up her acne and hyperpigmentation, she noticed not many spas addressed the specific skincare needs of women of color. So instead of continuing to look for someone else’s solution, she decided to become an esthetician herself. After a whirlwind corporate career Noelle went on to open Pretty Dapper Day Spa, which offers a variety of services to Chicagoland clients of all skin types and skin colors.