Making important connections
The program has...
"I've never seen anything like Entrepreneurial Winning Women. I'm now instantly connected to a whole new community of amazing CEOs, entrepreneurs, advisors and investors."Ali Brown
Founder and CEO of Ali International
No entrepreneur is an island. To run a successful business, you need to have connections with suppliers, clients and potential partners.
To be a successful leader, you need to draw on the experience of peers, mentors and business and personal advisors. The right networks can yield both new opportunities and a new way of thinking.
One of the main goals of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program is to help women entrepreneurs make critical connections.
This typically starts at the annual Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, where the Entrepreneurial Winning Women are presented at a special plenary luncheon to more than 2,300 CEOs and senior executives — and personally introduced to potential advisors, partners, suppliers and investors for their particular businesses.
Seek out specific contacts and advisors
These encounters are purposeful: The women are encouraged to scan the attendee list in advance and then to seek meetings with the most valuable potential contacts on-site.
Entrepreneurial Winning Woman Jennifer Scully, founder and CEO of healthcare staffing company Clinical Resources, says, "While at the Strategic Growth Forum, I had 13-plus appointments and met new clients."
In addition, beyond the Forum, the firm offers each of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women access to a personal virtual advisor network, including a liaison at the local Ernst & Young office.
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program also encourages the entrepreneurs to take the crucial step of formalizing their networks by establishing advisory boards for their businesses.
Finally, the Entrepreneurial Winning Women find a valuable peer network in each other. Dr. Marsha Firestone, Founder and President of the Women Presidents' Organization, sees such peer networks as key for women in the missing middle.
"For women just at the start-up stage," she explains, "most of what has to be learned is best learned in an educational setting. But at $1 million in revenues, we're talking about second-stage entrepreneurs who benefit most by learning from each other. "
"It's very helpful," agrees Entrepreneurial Winning Woman Dawn Halfaker, "being able to talk about different scenarios with women going through similar experiences — or even just to vent — because as women, we face some unique challenges."
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