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Local Business SceneBY VALERIE BYRNESOver the past eight months, as a new team member to the Small Busi- ness Development Fund for the City of Battle Creek, I have had the pleasure of meeting small busi-ness owners across the city in an effort to get to know the community. I am im- pressed by the passion, creativity, and drive that I find in local entrepreneurs, both men, and women alike. Keeping to this month’s theme of Women in Busi- ness, my goal is to celebrate the Battle Creek area women that have leaped in faith into the unknown entrepreneurial journey and to encourage others to fol- low suit.It is worth noting that women entre- preneurs have been and continue to be a vital part of the American economy. Data provided by the U.S. Small BusinessWomen in BusinessAdministration’s (SBA) Office of Advo- cacy notes that women-owned businesses contributed over $1.4 trillion in annual sales and 8.4 million jobs (study conduct- ed in 2012). What is not measured in most business studies is the impact that wom- en-owned businesses have on local com- munities, neighborhoods, and families. While we understand that women-owned businesses provide new revenue through sales, deliver impactful services and prod- ucts, and are a source of employment for local residents, their community-empow- erment often goes unmeasured. Econom- ic impacts aside, the qualities I found in the culture of local women-owned busi- nesses right here in Battle Creek include that of a collaborative spirit, family-fo- cused culture, a joyful work environment, and a positive energy that when com- bined, create a collective can-do attitude. What resonated to me on a personal level were the intangible factors with which these women business owners align:honesty, accountability, responsiveness, and fairness are key determinants of suc- cess; qualities we expect in a family and desire in a community.It was interesting to learn that most of the small businesses in America not only boot-strap their business but that approximately three-fourths (72%) of all women-entrepreneurs start with less than $5,000. Start-up funds are leveraged from personal income, savings, or credit cards. Research shows that adequate capitaliza- tion is a leading indicator of long-term success for women-owned businesses and yet it seems women are making it de- spite what the data would imply. Digging deeper into data, it was exciting to learn that the national SBA data indicates that minority women own a larger share of businesses in their respective demograph- ic groups compared to nonminority wom- en. Over half (59%) of all Black/African American-owned businesses are owned by women. In fact, every minority group has a higher rate of women’s business ownership than non-minorities. A recent article in USA Today indicates that wom- en, in general, are launching businesses at a rate five times faster than their male counterparts. The article goes on to state that women launch 1,000 new businesses each day. The positive message I found in the data, is simply that women, in gener- al, are actively organizing ideas into ac- tion that often leads to entrepreneurship.As we further build our own com- munity to support the growth of wom- en-owned businesses, a network of Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) have banded together to assist with business planning, access to capi- tal, and successful networking connec- tivity. It is safe to say that all women will be provided support mechanisms on the journey toward the entrepreneurial dream in Battle Creek. The Small Busi- ness Development Fund is a great place to start the conversation.The Small Business Development Fund is a team of professionals support- ing the City of Battle Creek’s vision to grow and strengthen small business. Ser- vices are available to ALL entrepreneurs and small business owners. Please email with inquiries.INVESTMENT CAPITAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS PARTNERING RESOURCESTogether.WE ARE CREATING A HEALTHY LOCAL ECONOMY.Small Business Development Fund - City of Battle Creek269-966-3355 ext. 1191 | 34 WEST JACKSON STREET, SUITE 3B• MARKETING MONDAYS •A Solid Marketing Plan FoundationMay 7, 2018, 12-1pmPresenter: Kari Davis, Gapp MediaTurn Analytics Into ActionJune 4, 2018, 12-1pmPresenter: Hanna Burmeister, MI SBDC$10/personFREE to Chamber Members!Email: for more information.Hosted by Small Business Development Fund in partnership with Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information, email vabyrnes@battlecreekmi.gov12 SCENE 4304 I WOMEN IN BUSINESS

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