More than 200 women entrepreneurs will unite to influence the region’s economic future on Thursday, June 20 at the 5th Annual Western Women’s Business Conference at the A-B Tech Mission Center. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., lunch will be served, and events conclude at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $45.
The theme for this year’s event is “Build Your Tribe to Build Your Business” and will feature a day of engaging workshops, speakers, activities, and more. Attendees will hear from entrepreneurial thought leaders including Jessica Chilton, Darlene Strickland, and Aisha Adams. Musicians Kat Williams and The Wild Bodema will perform live.
The event is hosted by the Western Women’s Business Center, a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund, a statewide nonprofit community lender.
Sharon Oxendine, the center’s director, encourages a broad spectrum of individuals to attend, including those just starting their businesses and established owners as well as anyone who is simply curious or has a dream.
“Our annual conference has become a time for women entrepreneurs to gather for networking, education, connection and collaboration,” Oxendine explained. “This regional conference recognizes the need for diversity, inclusion and equity for all of our women entrepreneurs.”
Breakout sessions will cover an array of topics ranging from business mentality to embracing creativity with a focus on small business resources, including those available for those who speak Spanish.
“This event celebrates and elevates the potential of women entrepreneurs in the region,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President and CEO of Carolina Small Business. “Our mission is to inspire and invest in small businesses, to transform bright ideas into a bright future.”
The Western Women’s Business Center is in partnership with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.
“This conference consistently demonstrates year after year, the power of women connecting and helping each other build their business by truly building their tribe,” said Jill Sparks, executive director of the Small Business Center at A-B Tech. “We have seen relationships begin and flourish as a result of the networking that takes place on this special day and I’m looking forward to seeing this transpire again.”
The Western Women’s Business Center serves women and minorities in all 25 counties in Western North Carolina. While about 1 in 5 small businesses in North Carolina are owned by women, 38% of loans made by Carolina Small Business are to women entrepreneurs.
Carolina Small Business fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, coaching and policy research. Since 2010 the nonprofit CDFI has invested more than $58.3 million through 708 loans to small businesses across North Carolina helping to create or retain 2,620 jobs.