Women entrepreneurs learn and network at GNWBC Sip & Learn events

Women entrepreneurs learn and network at GNWBC Sip & Learn events

Women entrepreneurs learn and network at GNWBC Sip & Learn events

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As an organization, GROW Nebraska strives to be a useful business resource to the entrepreneurs in our state, and the Nebraska Women’s Business Center’s Sip & Learn events have been a fun, accessible addition to these efforts. 

The GROW Nebraska Women’s Business Center (GNWBC) was founded in early 2021, when the U.S. Small Business Administration provided grant funding for the launch of 20 new Women’s Business Centers across the nation. The program was designed to serve rural, urban, and underserved communities. 

The GNWBC has partnered with the Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center (MOWBC) to come up with fresh, helpful events and resources for women entrepreneurs in the Omaha area. According to the organization’s website, the “Metro Omaha Women’s Business Center endeavors to accelerate the success of women in all aspects and at all business and professional levels.” Together, the groups are presenting Sip & Learn events for people in this demographic.

BC Clark, founder of the MOWBC and Program Director of the GNWBC, has been involved with this effort from the start. When asked where the idea came from, she said, “We were looking for signature events for the partnership. You hear about things like ‘Paint & Sip,’ so we thought, ‘Sip & Learn.’ It’s an opportunity to network and get education.” 

With businesses and operations opening up earlier this summer, the partners thought that some in-person networking opportunities would be good for the community. “We’ve been shut in for so long, it’s all about getting the work out for your business. You have to carve your own space out.”

Their last event brought in about 40 attendees. Clark said that while education is an important part of the Sip & Learn events, it’s really about the networking.

“Having some food and beverage while getting and sharing information with other business owners, that’s priceless networking.” 

The Sip & Learn events are held monthly, and feature different speakers for each meeting. These meetings cover topics like financials for women, networking, and investment. The partnership between the two organizations combines the resources, networks, and expertise of a large pool of experts, and will provide a valuable service to the woman entrepreneurs in the Omaha area and beyond. 

On the topic of the partnership, Clark said that, “Collaboration with these two organizations is really going to be able to bring the resources to women business owners, those who want to start a business, or just need a resource as ladies trying to find their way. We are bringing a greater service to a greater number of women. Working with GROW Nebraska is really allowing us to reach more people.” 

GROW NEBRASKA is excited to watch this partnership grow, and to share more about the good work these two organizations are doing for Nebraska’s women-led entrepreneurship community! For more information about the Sip & Learn events, please contact Candice Price at candice@grownebraskawbc.org.

Story by Lauren Bonk, owner of the Curtain and Pen Copywriting Services, a GROW Nebraska member. Lauren hails from Kearney, NE, where she works as a freelance copywriter for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporate entities in need of professionally-written marketing content for their businesses and organizations. 

Join the Ascent – SBA’s New Online Learning Platform For Women Entrepreneurs | GROW Nebraska’s FREE Online Training

Join the Ascent – SBA’s New Online Learning Platform For Women Entrepreneurs | GROW Nebraska’s FREE Online Training

GROW Nebraska’s® FREE Online Training

Join the Ascent – SBA’s New Online Learning Platform For Women Entrepreneurs

How to Livestream Your Business to New Customers

Ready to take your business to the next level? It’s time to join the Ascent!

Ascent is SBA’s brand new free online learning platform for women entrepreneurs. It’s packed with in-depth information to help you start and grow your business.

Ascent takes you on five self-paced Journeys covering Disaster & Economic Recovery, Strategic Marketing, Your People, Your Business Financial Strategy and Access to Capital. Each Journey contains multiple Excursions, which are packed with videos, tips, worksheets, infographics, tools and more!

This webinar will provide a general overview of Ascent, as well as mention a few other free online learning resources.

This training is presented by Elizabeth Yearwood. Elizabeth has been an Economic Development Specialist with the SBA since March 2013. She is enthusiastic about helping people start, grow, expand and recover their small businesses in the great state of Nebraska!

The Refinery and From Nebraska Gift Shop work together to help women start their own small businesses

The Refinery and From Nebraska Gift Shop work together to help women start their own small businesses

The Refinery and From Nebraska Gift Shop work together to help women start their own small businesses

State Fair GROW Nebraska Store Entrance

Located near the bustling downtown area of Lincoln, Nebraska, The Refinery is making a big difference in the lives of up-and-coming small business owners. 

According to their website, “The Refinery provides refugee and immigrant women the opportunity to achieve economic independence and build social capital through business education and professional mentorships. We focus on serving women who are still in the process of learning the English language.”

The Refinery is a program under an organization called the ECHO Collective, started by Kelly Ross in 2020. With The Refinery, Kelly has built a resource that not only provides education and assistance in the establishment and running of a small business, but also a support network for the women who are participating in this program. 

A new GROW Nebraska member, The Refinery is working with other small businesses to further lift up these entrepreneurs. The From Nebraska Gift Shop in the Haymarket is one of these businesses, and has provided a new home for the products of one of the talented women in The Refinery’s first cohort. 

A common thread from the beginning of this partnership, Cecilia Vargas has been an inspiration to Kelly, who was her ESL teacher for five years. Cecilia would bring and wear crocheted items that she had made herself, and Kelly wanted to help her turn that talent into a business. 

Ross said, “I should walk alongside her and help her start this business. That was the seed of the Refinery.”

After determining that Cecilia’s business, Best Knit, would benefit most from an in-person shopping experience, Kelly reached out to Janell at GROW Nebraska, who connected her to Barb Ballard at the From Nebraska Gift Shop, where Cecilia’s products have been a huge hit. 

“It’s been very rewarding,” said Ballard. “I love being able to feature Nebraskans and their handiwork. I’m always in awe of other folks’ talents, and Cecilia has literally some of the most amazing handiwork skills. Everything is meticulously done, and anybody who knows handiwork knows how much talent is actually displayed in these clothes, and has great admiration for them.” 

While this partnership serves as the first between the two organizations, they are looking forward to future collaborations. 

“It’s been pretty amazing how GROW has worked with Cecila and the Refinery in a store,” said Ross. “It’s amazing when you step back and look at it, because Cecilia’s from Mexico, but this is her home. This is a struggle for many refugees — feeling like they’re home. Being able to watch Cecilia represent Nebraska with the things she makes has been incredible.”

Kelly connected GROW with Cecilia, who told us, “My favorite part of selling my knitted products is that, thanks to this, I can make myself known with my work, and I’m able to get my products to more people. What has given me the most happiness is seeing the babies wearing my designs.”

GROW Nebraska is always thrilled to see Nebraskan entrepreneurs working together in order to lift one another up to new heights, and we can’t wait to watch Cecilia, The Refinery, and the From Nebraska Gift Shop grow in their successes!

Story by Lauren Bonk, owner of the Curtain and Pen Copywriting Services, a GROW Nebraska member. Lauren hails from Kearney, NE, where she works as a freelance copywriter for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporate entities in need of professionally-written marketing content for their businesses and organizations. 

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