Getting support to launch your new business
Whether you need help launching your business or you are just starting to explore the possibility, the Center for Women in Enterprise can provide you the resources you need to succeed.
Headquartered in Manchester, the CWE-New Hampshire is part of a regional nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses. In 2015, the CWE took over the Women’s Business Center grant in New Hampshire through the Small Business Administration, which had been offering similar services for women since 1995.
The CWE offers workshops, networking opportunities, and no-cost consultations to help women reach their entrepreneurial goals in both online and on-site formats. (In July 2020, all physical CWE offices were still closed due to COVID-19.)
Chandra Reber, director for the CWE-New Hampshire, said women interested in starting a business can decide whether entrepreneurship is right for them by taking one of the organization’s foundational workshops, which include personal assessments.
These can help you decide whether entrepreneurship is the right fit for your personality and life circumstances, and what types of business might be suited to your skills and interests. For those who already have a business, the CWE offers seminars and multi-week business planning classes and expert consultation. They can even help you find sources to secure funding.
During the pandemic, Reber said there has been an uptick in people exploring going into business for themselves as they continue to see instability among larger employers.
“How many launch and take off remains to be seen, but there are many still waiting in the wings and who have no idea when they’ll get back to work,” she said.
She’s also had conversations with millennial women looking to start businesses they can feel passionate about, or do in a way that makes a difference.
“They want to have a more personal impact in a way they wouldn’t as an employee as part of a bigger machine,” she said.
Whether you need help hiring employees, developing advanced marketing techniques, creating a strategic plan, or introducing advanced finance and accounting programs, the programs and expertise of CWE classes and staff can help give you the tools to move your business forward. In July, the center offered a virtual course, A Fresh Start: Reopening Marketing Strategies After Quarantine, that focused on website and social media strategies small businesses might use to attract customers.
For more information on classes, business certifications, and networking events, go to www.cweonline.org.
Tips from a veteran mompreneur
Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky, a CWE board member and small business owner, remembers what it was like juggling motherhood with managing a small business.
Her move to mompreneurship was more than 20 years ago when she opened Uniquely Yours, a Dallas, Texas-based business that designed custom wedding and evening dresses for women. Prior to launching her business, she worked as a manufacturing and process engineer, but wanted more time with her growing family.
“I took care of my family and kids during the day and worked my business at night,” she said. “Now, there are many more resources for moms that give them a chance to build a support system.”
Kalina-Kaminsky, who has a doctorate in engineering, moved from dress design and creation back into engineering when she launched her second business in Texas before moving to New Hampshire in 2015. As sole proprietor of the Concord-based Process & Strategy Solutions, she helps businesses develop performance strategy, and improve their supply chains to achieve greater profitability.
In her role as a CWE board member, she shares her expertise with CWE management on business trends and strategy. This helps the CWE provide consulting and training in the start-up and established business sectors.
Some of her advice to mompreneurs includes sticking to a streamlined to-do list; understanding what it takes to produce your product; understanding your costs; and figuring out exactly how much profit you make on each piece.
“When you are an individual owner, what’s left over at the end of day is what you get paid. That’s a tough lesson to learn — it’s different when you are an employee and you get a paycheck every week,” she said.
She also encourages women to decide what kind of a business they want to own. It’s perfectly OK to build a lifestyle business that offers you flexibility and extra money on the side. She considered her former business, Uniquely Yours, a lifestyle business that she wasn’t looking to expand. Process & Strategy Solutions, however, is a business that is designed to scale up when it needs to, thanks to deep partnerships and the ability to add contractors.
No matter what your dream might be, the CWE provides a resource for women (and men) to talk about what you want to do and what your dream is — and no one laughs, Kalina-Kaminsky said.
“No one tells you it’s not possible — they help you whittle, narrow, and remold it to make it a possibility,” she said.