Monday, October 20, 2014

SBA Launches New HUBZones Initiative

Destination: HUB will boost HUBZones in the federal marketplace.

The Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, announced the launch of Destination: HUB. For over 17 years, the HUBZone program has served as one of SBA’s signature initiatives and has helped small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.

The program encourages economic development and employment growth in distressed areas by providing opportunities for firms to become active participants in the federal supply chain.

Destination HUB will consist of three major components:
  1. an in-depth examination of successes and needs in the HUBZone program;
  2. analysis of ideal situations for successful HUBZone collaboration, harnessing the power of public-private partnerships and market research to recruit more firms for HUBZone participation; and 
  3. launching a broad  grassroots educational initiative, together with community organizations, faith leaders, local economic development, and key stakeholders, to encourage participation in and inspire collective ownership of, the HUBZone program, at both the regional and national levels. 
As a result, Destination HUB furthers SBA’s effort to improve access to capital and close opportunity gaps in communities of color, by empowering entrepreneurs and small business owners economic and social mobility through employment and business growth.

Destination: HUB will promote and highlight HUBZones for opportunities in federal procurement.
“More than any other SBA initiative, the HUBZone Program has been a critical resource, creating jobs, alleviating poverty and reducing unemployment in our nation’s most vulnerable communities.  The program has had a transformational effect on small businesses all across the country. SBA’s Destination: HUB will put a spotlight on our underserved small businesses and promote HUBZones as ideal places for government contractors to do business,” said Contreras-Sweet.

To see if your area is a designated HUBZone and to apply for the program, visit

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

E-Magnify Director Mentors at Women's Mentoring Symposium

E-Magnify Director Jayne Huston (right) congratulates
Colleen O’Hara (left) and Jacqueline  McDevitt (center),
co-founders of Phan Cave and winners of the 2014
NAWBO PA Business Plan Competition.
E-Magnify Director Jayne Huston served as a mentor during the Speed Mentoring session at the Women's Mentorship Symposium, presented by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women on September 30, 2014. The half-day event, which was held in Pittsburgh, focused on the critical importance of mentorship on women’s personal and professional success. The Speed Mentoring program provided a structured, fast-paced setting for women to interact with one another to discuss topics such as work-life balance, career transition, and salary negotiation. Senior level women in a variety of professional fields served as mentors for the program.

The Symposium also featured a Business Plan Competition, presented by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). The contest, which featured a $10,000 cash prize, was open to women business owners in Pennsylvania who started their business on or after January 1, 2012. The judging panel included Lori Greiner (entrepreneur and star shark on the television show “Shark Tank”), Julia Hearthway (Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry), and ReneĆ© Amoore (founder and president of The Amoore Group, Inc.). The winners of the competition were Colleen O’Hara and Jacqueline McDevitt, co-founders of Philadelphia-based Phan Cave. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award Winners

L-R: Suzy Teele (COO Snap Retail & ATHENA Award Finalist); Ashley White (SHU Sophomore);
Jayne Huston (E-Magnify Director); Lee Ann Munger (PowerLink Director)

Congratulations to E-Magnify friends Diana Holder and Amelia Papapetropoulos, winners of the 2014 Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards. Diane (Executive Vice President, UPMC, President, UPMC Insurance Services Division, President & CEO, UPMC Health Plan) received the ATHENA Award. Amelia (Sales Manager, Lightning Energy Services) received the ATHENA Young Professional Award.

We also extend our congratulations to all of the nominees, finalists, and winners, including our own nominee Suzy Teele, COO of SnapRetail, who was a finalist for the ATHENA Award.

The Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award recognizes exceptional women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community and help other women to succeed through mentorship. Winners were honored on September 29 at the 2014 ATHENA & ATHENA Young Professional Awards Luncheon, held at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Erie ATHENA Lunch Connects Established & Emerging Leaders

Jayne Huston and Lindsey Moore
E-Magnify Director Jayne Huston participated in the ATHENA Leadership Luncheon in Erie, PA, on September 16, 2014. She served as a facilitator for an interactive discussion focused on "relationships" and "collaboration," two of the ATHENA Leadership Model's "Eight Tenets of Women's Leadership.

Each experienced leader also brought an emerging business leader with her to the luncheon. Lindsay Moore, Project Director/Marketing Manager at Moore Research Services, Inc., attended as Huston's guest and mentee.

Moore Research Services, Inc. is a global marketing research firm with a passion for building, assessing and strengthening clients' product lines and services. Moore has been with the company since 2008 and is a third generation researcher. She takes pride in being able to help shape and guide a company that her grandmother started in 1969.

The Erie event was part of the national ATHENA International Women's Leadership Day, which is celebrated  in more than 100 communities across ATHENA International's global footprint. According to the ATHENA Erie website, "ATHENA Women’s Leadership Day celebrates women helping women and provides a forum for women leaders to make meaningful connections with one another. In Erie, the ATHENA Leadership Luncheon reflects the dedication to putting established and emerging leaders together for an afternoon to collaborate, build relationships, and learn from each other. Participants in this event will be exposed to making new connections and relationships with other established and emerging leaders, emerging leaders will receive support and guidance from established leaders, established leaders will gain the satisfaction of mentoring emerging leaders, all resulting in a stronger, more unified network of women leaders in the local business community."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Bill Proposes Increased Funding for Women's Business Centers

Debra Mason, E-Magnify's Education and Training Manager, attended "Empowering Women Entrepreneurs," a Senate hearing held in July 2014. The hearing was hosted by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship and held in conjunction with Women Influencing Public Policy’s (WIPP) annual leadership meeting in Washington, D.C.

New legislation has been introduced that would increase funding to the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) Women's Business Centers (WBC), a national network of nearly 100 educational centers that are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. As an SBA WBC, E-magnify provides direct client counseling for women interested in starting a business or growing an existing business.

The new bill, “Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2014” (S. 2693), would improve access to lending and increase business counseling and training services for women entrepreneurs, and give women-owned businesses the same level of access to federal contracts as other disadvantaged groups.

The bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and John Walsh (D-MT) joined Cantwell n introducing the legislation aimed at giving women entrepreneurs equal treatment when it comes to starting and growing their own businesses.

The introduction of this legislation followed the release of  21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship, a report on women’s entrepreneurship eleased in conjunction with a Committee hearing in which WIPP National Partner Lynn Sutton testified on the need for such legislation.

Friday, September 5, 2014

E-Magnify and PowerLink Directors to Speak at Women First Forum

Jayne Huston, E-Magnify Director, and Lee Ann Munger, PowerLink Director, will present a break-out session at the 4th Annual Women First Forum, presented by First Commonwealth on October 2, 2014, at the Westin Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh, PA.

Jayne and Lee Ann will present Practicing Leadership: Global Perspectives, Personal Focus:
Women's advancement in leadership is currently a very hot topic, thanks to Sheryl Sandberg pushing the conversation by asking women to Lean In. A more feminine style of leadership is recognized as the way forward by Arianna Huffington, who has referred to this time as "a second women's movement" and John Gerzema, author of The Athena Doctrine, who believes that "femininity will be the operating system of the 21st century." More and more people are sending a clear message - there is a real need for women's leadership and feminine values in our organizations and in the world. Join Jayne and Lee Ann for a highly interactive discussion as we explore bringing these global perspectives into personal focus.

Event Sessions: 
  • Keynote Presentation by Laura Ellsworth, Partner-in-Charge Pittsburgh, Jones Day
  • Make Your Money Work Harder: Developing the Right Approach to Building Your Financial Dream Team (Donna Chappel, President, Advanced Integration Group; Karan Waigand, U.S. Small Business Administration, Economic Development Specialist; Karen Saine, Vice President, Business Banking Area Manager, First Commonwealth Bank; Moderated by Linda Larotonda, Senior Vice President, Consumer Credit Services Manager, First Commonwealth Bank) 
  • Raising Your Social Voice (Meredith Blake Matthews, Director, Consumer Engagement, Mullen) 
  • Do You Have the Strength to Succeed? Building YOUR Best Asset for Climbing the Corporate Ladder (Vonda Wright, MD, MS Orthopaedic Surgeon Medical Director, UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex)
  • Why Women Give It Away...And Why We Shouldn't (Denise DeSimone, Chairman, Founder, c-leveled)
  • How to Grow Your Business Beyond a Million Dollars! (AJ Drexler, President and Chief Strategist, Campos Inc, and Yvonne Campos, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Campos Inc.)
Learn more and reserve your spot at this event for FREE here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

E-Magnify Welcomes New SBA District Director

Western Pennsylvania's women's business center (WBC) welcomes new SBA Pittsburgh District Director Kelly Hunt (center). Greeting her at Seton Hill University recently are (from left), Debra Mason, E-Magnify Education and Training Manager; Karan Waigand, SBA WBC District Office Technical Representative; Mary Ann Gawelek, SHU Provost and Dean of the Faculty; (Kelly Hunt), Natalia Olson-Urtecho, SBA Regional Administrator; and Jayne Huston, E-Magnify Director.

Kelly Hunt is the new district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Pittsburgh District Office. SBA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho officially administered the SBA Oath of Office to Hunt Monday, August 25, 2014.

Hunt, a native of Washington County, is responsible for the delivery and leadership of the SBA’s financial and business development programs throughout 27 counties in Western Pennsylvania. Prior to her SBA appointment, Hunt spearheaded the creation of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Center and Student Incubator at California University of Pennsylvania and served as its director.

An entrepreneur herself, Hunt brings hands-on experience in starting and operating businesses to her new role. The Air Force veteran holds a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems management coupled with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She recently finished the necessary coursework for her doctoral degree in organizational leadership and is completing her dissertation on individual entrepreneurial orientation.

Olson-Urtecho believes Hunt will flourish as a catalyst for business development in Western Pennsylvania. “She brings leadership, entrepreneurship and interpersonal communication skills to a region that is rich in resources, education and strong work ethics,” she said. “Pittsburgh and the surrounding region often are showcased by national and international news media outlets for its many success stories and I expect that trend to continue under District Director Hunt.”

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.