Thursday, May 19, 2005

Article of Interest: Crazy Like An Entrepreneur

In Business Telegraph (U.K.)

Being entrepreneur Anita Roddick, founder of Body Shop International

An entrepreneur has more in common with a crazy person. That's what I've learnt. When I could articulate entrepreneurship not as a growing business but as a sort of obsession it all made sense to me.

Entrepreneurship is obsessive and it does have certain core components: it's got to have a work ethic -- that's why immigrants make terrific entrepreneurs, and why middle-aged, middle-class, wealthy people don't.

You've got to have an obsession with freedom; you're almost unemployable and you therefore set up your own skill base to cover that. You cannot stand hierarchy -- especially female entrepreneurs, who'll try to break it down at any given point.

I've learnt that you have this umbilical cord with your business; so you really don't know what life is and what business is -- it's all blended together. I've also observed that entrepreneurs, when they leave their company, can either end up in mental institutions or committing suicide because their reason for being is their company.

To read more of this breathtakingly insightful article on what it's like being Anita Roddick and the lessons she has learned, visit here. You might also check out her latest brilliant creation Take It Personally.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Reminder: Springboard Enterprises Venture Forum 2005 -- Call For Applicants!

WHO: Springboard Enterprises and Northwestern’s Center for Women Entrepreneurs in Technology

WHAT: Present At Springboard Enterprises Midwest Venture Forum 2005 – Call For Applicants!

WHEN: On or before June 24, 2005 (actual forum takes place September 28th in Chicago)

WHERE: Apply online at Springboard Enterprises

WHY: Springboard Enterprises Venture Capital Forum recently announced its return to the Midwest and a call for fund-worthy women entrepreneur applicants. Springboard Enterprises provides women-led high growth companies with access to investment capital and entrée to a community committed to helping them build enduring businesses. Springboard has showcased 317 women-led enterprises at 14 forums across the country. Springboard portfolio companies have raised $3 billion in equity capital, grants and strategic investments to date.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Update: Athena Award Event

I was delighted to have had an opportunity to attend the ATHENAPowerLink program Thursday evening at L8 on Ontario Street.

Pamela B. Strobel, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Exelon Corporation and president for Exelon Business Services Company, and Shelly Sun (who I went to see receive her award), founder and president of 24-7 Brightstar Healthcare, were honored May 12th by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) as it celebrated the importance of business advisors and mentors.

The event called, "It's a Two-Way Street!" was the CEC's second annual networking reception for its ATHENAPowerLink program, a mentoring program that connects women business owners with volunteer advisory panels of business professionals recruited to meet the specific needs of their companies.

To learn more about what went on, visit the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce newsletter feature on it which includes a great photo!

Separately, tomorrow I plan to post an update on Springboard. Watch for it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Update: Women-owned businesses

What a week it has been for powerful events! I attended the Women's Leadership Exchange on Tuesday and sat in on the Make Mine a $Million Business program for the sole purpose of prospecting for new WPO members. To qualify for WPO membership, you must be a woman president who has guided a business to at least $2 million in annual sales (or $1 million for a service-based business). It looks like nearly all of the women who pitched to win a business loan will qualify for membership in a very short period of time! We can't wait!

According to OPEN from American Express, just 3% of women-owned U.S. businesses generate more than a million dollars in annual revenue, compared to 7% of men-owned businesses in the same category. In addition, women-owned businesses total more than 459,000 in Illinois, representing 50% of all privately held firms in the state, according to the Center for Women's Business Research.

The recent OPEN Small Business Network Monitor survey of women-owned businesses in the Chicago area indicates that women entrepreneurs in Illinois are optimistic about their business future -- 68% have a positive outlook on the economy and business growth.

As soon as I catch my breath, I will report on the Athena Award event that I attended on Thursday night.