Women on the Rise
“While men dominate small business ventures women are on the rise,” says Clemson Associate Professor Amy Ingram. From 1997 to 2017 women-owned businesses increased 114% compared to the average national growth rate of 44% for all businesses. According to the last census, there are 11.6 billion female-owned businesses in the U.S. with a growth rate of 32.6%. In South Carolina the number of businesses owned by women has doubled in the past two decades.
Javela Singleton is a great example. She was bitten early by the enterprise bug and admits, “My path has been littered with small entrepreneurial sparks, from cutlery, to diet fixes, essential oils, and fiber arts.” Driven by the wish to be a mother and stymied by female complications, she searched for medical answers to environmental chemicals that might have disrupted her endocrine system. She was surprised to learn the truth on fragrances.
“Fragrance is made in a lab. No company is required to disclose what goes into making it because it is considered proprietary. In fact, it can be the single most motivating factor for customer loyalty. Many independent studies of top cosmetic and personal care brands have revealed chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors, some of which have been banned.”
Convinced that harmful chemical exposure was the culprit for her condition, she began her soap making journey with a sense of purpose, self-discovery, healing and conviction.
In 2013 while working full-time, Javela completed her research and product development to bravely enter the world of craft shows and farmers markets. She quickly realized her need to familiarize herself with the business side of her new venture.
“I learned that a non-profit called Mill Community Ministry & Nasha Lending offered a 12-week Business Entrepreneur Academy class.” By the summer of 2015 she had acquired the tools to run her business and by Christmas of 2016 she quit her 11-year career in medical manufacturing.
According to Professor Ingram, there are studies on emerging differences of Leadership approaches. While both men and women share the same value of goals and strategy, they often have different ways to achieve those results.
“Men define leadership as task driven using tactical management skills that keeps the bottom line as the priority. Although delegation is commonly used in both male and female entrepreneurs, men tend to maintain control over decisions impacting the venture.”
Let’s meet our next entrepreneur….
All of 5 feet tall, Karen Schipper comes from the exotic city of Hong Kong. She came to us via her studies at Bob Jones University, left for a short time to live in New York City and happily returned to the magic of the Upstate.
“Art is a visceral language that helps people relate, feel and bond. I need it for myself and I see the importance of it for businesses and individuals.”
Having worked for companies doing brand design for six years, she began to realize her love for illustration in the design process. “It’s where I start as I envision a brand.” Drawing from that strength, Karen began her freelance illustration business this past year in her home working side-by-side with her husband.
Karen has created her own stationary line as well as helping businesses develop visual language systems that really speak to who they are and what sets them apart from the pack. Her work shows an honest directness and innocence. It is simplistic, colorful and childlike in its style. We love our Bingo cards she designed for the Indie Craft Parade.
Keep your eyes open for her greeting card line.
We’re betting her original style will be popping up everywhere. Look for it on Instagram or her website www.karenschipper.com
Professor Ingram goes on to explain, “Women on the other hand, are more nurturing and relational, developing human capital vs. the bottom line. The result is a more communal approach whereby confidence building and skill support is used for group problem solving. Both approaches are effective, however, interestingly enough when women assume a more dominant male leadership style they are described as having “alpha bitch syndrome.” Yep, we said bitch.
Patrizia Boscia (pronounced Pahtreetzia) comes from Castellamare del Golfo, in southern Italy. We love her lilting, melodious accent. She has a PhD in Sociology from Stony Brook University in NY and has taught literature and languages in Sicily and Milan. She’s also taught sociology at Long Island University, SUNY, FAU in Boca Raton, FL and most recently here at USC Upstate.
Patrizia bakes the most delicious Italian “pasticcini” (pastries). Her recipes have been nurturing her family for generations and now they have landed right here at the Toasty Farmer winter market.
Full disclosure: We gobbled them up as the line lengthened behind us…
“Many traditional pastries and cookies have an ancient history to be told. I am happy to share those stories with my customers. These Cucciddruti (fig crescent cookies), for example, date back to the 9th c.AD when Sicily came under Arab control for three centuries.” Glad they brought figs.
“I am developing a cottage baking business which specializes in Italian traditional and modern sweets,” hence the name Sweets Bites of Italy. It’s important to note here that an emerging cottage food industry venture may sell their homemade goodies at green markets and directly to the public. Foods offered for retail (ie. grocery stores and restaurants) must be prepared in a certified and inspected kitchen.
“I loved teaching at USC Upstate. Unfortunately, due to medical issues I’ve changed direction from the academic field to pastries.” We are grateful for her choice to begin this new adventure reflecting her second passion. In a way she is still teaching.
Thanks to Associate Professor Ingram for sharing these additional resources:
National General Resources:
Female Entrepreneurship Association
Office of Women’s Business Ownership, Small Business Administration
National Women Business Council (NWBC)
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
American Business Women’s Association (ABWA)
Funding and Accelerators (just a few but there are many more)
Amber Grant/Grants for Women
Eileen Fisher Women Owned Business Grant
MergeLane Accelerator Program
Plum Alley Investments
Female Founders Fund
Women’s Startup Lab
SBA InnovateHER Challenge