Women entrepreneurs abound in Utah

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    By Annie Vance

    As the world of business continues to thrive, women are stepping up to the plate. According to a Small Businesses Administration statistic, one-third of businesses in the United States are owned by women.

    Women-owned businesses are increasing substantially throughout the United States but especially here in Utah.

    Linda Rich, program director for the center of entrepreneurship at BYU suggested there is a specific reason for this. Rich said that within the last year there have been many “cottage” businesses started out of the home.

    “Utah is a hot bed for women started companies. Women that choose to work want to stay home with their children,” Rich said.

    Many women are finding ways to work inside of the home by creating businesses that are “mother friendly”.

    Rich said Utah women have started many craft and decorating companies because they are things they can do in the home.

    Utah is the home of Stampin” Up, a decorating rubber stamp company. Shelli Gardner, Founder and CEO of Stampin” Up said she started her company because it was something she enjoyed doing and had a passion for.

    “We started it out of my living room kind of as a hobby business. We had no idea that it would turn into a $100 million business,” Gardner said.

    Nancy Mitchell, executive director of the Women”s Business Center at the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce said, “Visibility has increased and many women want flexibility.”

    Mitchell suggests women are successful in business because they have “embraced technology in their businesses more than men have.”

    “When you see someone else doing it you think, ”I can do that too,”” Mitchell said.

    According to the Center for Women”s Business Research, women entrepreneurs are more successful today because they have more management experience and are more educated.

    “We would always encourage our entrepreneurial students to finish school,” Rich said. “Especially because you don”t know if your business will remain successful and educational background will help.”

    Gardner agreed having business skills would have helped her in starting her own business.

    “I had no experience. I had only a year of college. We shot from the hip and made a lot of mistakes,” Gardner said. “We almost went bankrupt.”

    The Center of Entrepreneurship at BYU offers many things to help women interested in starting their own business. They offer counseling, training, and mentoring.

    Rich said women are able to meet with other entrepreneurs who will listen to them, give advice, and also refer them to other people that may be able to help them get started.

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