Over 100 women business owners and entrepreneurs attended a leadership symposium supported in part by The American Legion Department of New Jersey on May 11.
The “Women Warriors in Business” event at Rutgers Business School was designed to empower women business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders toward success.
Bob Looby, the department’s employment and education chairman, said the idea for the event developed last fall.
“Basically I wanted to supplement the Boots to Business workshops with something bigger, more specific, just like when we supplemented our job fairs with the business courses,” Looby said.
The department wanted to find a way to help women veterans develop and grow their businesses. Sessions at the event included discussion of ways to strengthen leadership skills, methods to improve winning public and private contracts, and developing digital marketing.
Almost 32 percent of all businesses in New Jersey are women-owned, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But Shy Hopkins of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center told NJTV Online that female entrepreneurs still face significant challenges in growing their businesses.
“Women not being confident enough to go out for loans when they have a small business, not being confident enough to go out for contracts. And that’s very important, very vital to the survival of a business,” Hopkins said.
Sponsors of the event included Prudential and M&T Bank, with support from the U.S. Small Business Administration, New Jersey Business Action Center, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and others.
Looby said it’s likely other similar events will take place.
He also praised the Legion’s Veterans Employment and Education Division in Washington, D.C. for their assistance in this and other projects.
“They’re great mentors, great leaders,” he said.