According to theÂ American Express OPEN 2013 State of Women-Owned Business Report, female entrepreneurs started businesses at a rate 150% higher than the national average, adding 175,000 jobs to the U.S. economy. Some 74% of these female business owners who went into entrepreneurship started their ventures from scratch. However, many face the challenges of developing strategies to grow and scale up their businesses.
Sandi Webster, principal of Newark, NJ-based Consultants 2 Go, a provider of marketing and analytic consultants to corporations, is one such entrepreneur. After receiving an invitation to the American Express OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp in New York City last September, she decided to give it a shot.
“I was at the point where I really like to get information on how to grow my business so if someone is willing to take that time to share that information with me, I’m always willing to listen,” she says. “They had really dynamic people like [fashion designer] Tory Burch, who is coming to take the time to share their growth strategy.”
Other business leaders included Angie Hicks, Co-founder and CMO, Angie’s List, Melinda Emerson, author and small business expert, and Valerie Morris, author and former CNN anchor. For Webster, it was a real learning experience.
“I learned that we all have the same problem, no matter what size you are. If you’re a startup, you’re looking to grow,” she says. “If you’re at $1 million, you’re looking to get to $10 million. Some of the [growth] strategies are the same. It’s just how you go about executing it and who you have access to help you.”
The program is designed to enable women business owners to think like chief executives and grow their businesses, focusing on what the American Express OPEN team refers to as the three pillars of success for women entrepreneurs: confidence, competence and connections. The second summit will be held March 26th at the LA Hotel Downtown with a Live Stream Party at General Assembly West in New York City from noon-5:30 PM. Speakers include Alexis Maybank, Founder of Gilt, Denise Wilson, President and CEO of Desert Jet, Alli Webb, Founder of Drybar, Susan Feldman, Co-founder and CMO of One Kings Lane.