If you search the Web, you’ll find a wealth of information and resources available for entrepreneurs and many that offer specific information to assist women entrepreneurs. However, if you live in the Washtenaw County area and are looking to connect on a local level with organizations that support entrepreneurial women, you’ll want to start here:
- Your local chamber of commerce is always a good starting point for any business owner looking for support as they establish and grow their company. The local chambers of commerce in Washtenaw County, including the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce, the Milan Chamber of Commerce and the Saline Chamber of Commerce all have information and leaders who can collaborate with entrepreneurial women to help them succeed.
- Non-profit organizations focused on women’s issues. For many female entrepreneurs, working with a local non-profit such as United Way of Washtenaw County that focuses on issues they are passionate about can be a great way to not only use their professional skills, but to build a professional network and a deeper connection with the community.
- Ann Arbor Spark defines itself as, “Ann Arbor’s engine for economic development. We are an organization dedicated to the economic prosperity of the greater Ann Arbor region. We use our skills and knowledge to attract, develop, strengthen, and invest in driving industries to help our region thrive.” This mission includes providing many resources and opportunities for women entrepreneurs to connect with other professionals and the resources they need to build sustainable businesses.
- Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw (WXW) has been supporting women in business since 2007. According to the WXW website, this Ann Arbor-based non-profit connects, teaches, and inspires hundreds of women in the region, believing that if it can help women solve business problems, companies will grow, create more products and services, employ more people, and revitalize the region.
- The Women’s Council of Washtenaw County is another local professional organization that supports women in business with monthly education programs, mentorship opportunities, networking, and community involvement while cultivating strong, professional relationships.
The proceeding list of business resources for women entrepreneurs provides just a handful of the many resources available. It’s helpful to do a little bit of your own local research—or try reaching out to the groups listed above and see which organizations and resources is the best fit for you and your business.
Lauri Arnett has worked in the Commercial Service Department at Kemner-Iott since September 1998. She has a daughter, Haylee, who she loves going on adventures with and hearing how well she is doing in college. Outside of work, Lauri enjoys going to a Toledo Mudhens or Tigers games and going for long walks when the weather is nice.
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