Sunday, October 30, 2011

Women in Business Awards Nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for  2012 Women in Business Awards, presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The awards honor the region's most influential business women at both for-profits and non-profits. A nominee must be a female resident of western Pennsylvania who is employed in the region and should be an established business leader with a strong record of innovation in her field, outstanding performance in her business or non-profit, and/or a clear track record of meaningful community involvement. Nominees do not have to be the owners or presidents of their organizations. Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominations will be judged on the following three criteria:
  • professional accomplishments, 
  • community leadership
  • as well as awards and milestones.

For more information on the 2012 Women in Business Awards, including additional nomination details, please visit

SBA's Federal Contract Program for Women

The SBA holds monthly web chats to answer questions from the small business public and provide responses from experts on a variety of dynamic small business issues.

During the latest web chat, Michele Chang, senior advisor in the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development at the SBA, answered questions about the “SBA’s Federal Contract Program for Women - Part 2." Read a transcript of that web chat here. (For Part 1 and other archived web chat transcripts, visit the SBA's Online Business Chat room.)

The SBA's Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible women-owned small businesses or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. Learn more here.

National Small Business Week Nominations

The SBA’s Western Pennsylvania District Office is seeking nominations from small business entrepreneurs and support personnel who are helping to ramp up the region’s economy. National Small Business Week happens in the spring (May 20-26, 2012), but nominations are being accepted now.

For the past 48 years, the SBA has set aside a week to honor the nation’s small business owners and advocates. Awards ceremonies, held on both local and national levels, are an ideal way for community leaders to recognize small business owners who often are touted as the backbone of the nation’s economy.

For more information on the nomination process, including all necessary forms, please contact Janet Heyl of the Western Pennsylvania SBA District Office at 412-395-6560, ext. 103 or by email at Nominators also can visit the SBA’s National Small Business Week website at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PA Conference for Women (10/25/11)

E-Magnify is proud to be a Supporting Organization for the Pennsylvania Conference for Women.

It's not too late to register for the October 25th conference. Here's a quick look at the wide array of events and speakers:

Tory Johnson (workplace contributor on "Good Morning America," New York Times best-selling author, and CEO of Women For Hire and Spark & Hustle) is leading a full-day Small Business Boot Camp the day before the conference.

Check out these great tips from Morra Aarons Mele, founder of Women Online, on how to "Own Your Niche" and maximize your professional online presence. 

If you're working on your online brand, website, or blog and have some questions, bring them to the conference for a personal brand audit with well-known bloggers. There are only 30 spots, so if you're going to the conference, sign up for one now. 

See all conference speakers and the full schedule here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome to the new!

We're so pleased to unveil our new website, complete with blog! Here you'll find news about our programs and services, links to useful information and resources, and information that you can use to start or grow your business. 

Don't miss a thing!
We'll use this blog to keep you posted on news and events related to women in business. You can subscribe to the blog and receive email updates on the days we post new content; just enter your email address in the "Subscribe" box to the right. You can also add us to your feed reader and stay up-to-date with us that way.

We've updated the look and feel of the whole site, as well as some of the content. One noticeable change is the addition of three "pathways," designed to help you find the most pertinent resources for the stage of business you're in. We call them our "Three E's," and you'll see them featured on the homepage. As we grow content on the new, the resources under each of these sections will grow too. Check back often!

Do you have a business idea or are just starting out? This section is for you if you're in the Entry stage of business. Here you'll find a handy assessment tool from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help you determine your readiness (and next steps) for small business ownership. You can also register for a free, one-on-one counseling session with an E-Magnify business counselor.

So you've had your business for awhile now, and you're looking to grow it. When you're no longer a start-up but still on your way to reaching your goals, we call that an Emerging business. In this section you'll find resources such as free business counseling, connection to peers and a personalized advisory board, and business training to help you take your enterprise to the next level.

As your business has grown, so have the challenges and opportunities you're facing. The resources in the Established business section can help you get a handle on issues such as human resources, government contracting, and importing/exporting. For peer-to-peer and advisory board support, check out the Women Presidents’ Organization and ATHENAPowerLink®.

Our center has been providing resources and assistance to women business owners for more than 20 years, and we're excited about this next chapter online. Please take a look around and let us know what you think.

Former E-Magnify Director Installed as Wilson President

Dr. Barbara Mistick (l) and Dr. JoAnne Boyle (r) (photo source: Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer, Herald-Mail)
Congratulations to Dr. Barbara K. Mistick, former E-Magnify Director (1995-2002), on becoming the 19th president of Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA.

Mistick was installed this past Saturday during an investiture ceremony that highlighted a weekend of celebratory events and brought hundreds of visitors to the Wilson campus, including four past presidents of the college. 

Seton Hill University President JoAnne W. Boyle provided Inaugural Remarks and E-Magnify Director Jayne H. Huston participated in the inaugural procession of delegates (representing Seton Hill University as an Alumna – MBA 2000).

Although the ceremony was forced indoors because of rain, spirits were high as Mistick formally assumed the presidency, a post she has held since July 1. More than 500 people attended the inauguration, including about 200 who were part of the inaugural procession of delegates from more than 40 colleges and universities, educational organizations, the Presbyterian Church, alumnae class representatives, current and former trustees, faculty and staff, students, past presidents and honored guests and family members.

President Boyle, in her Inaugural Remarks, called Mistick a lifelong learner who is perceptive and intelligent. Boyle said the new president will “ask the right questions” as she goes about doing her job. “She will examine your investments … and with her businesswoman’s head, she will multiply, leverage, and capitalize on them,” Boyle said. “She will keep her spirits raised and she will raise the spirits of Wilson College.”

In welcoming those who attended, Wilson Board of Trustees Chair John W. Gibb called the ceremony “one of the more colorful rites of passage on a college campus, and also one of the most meaningful.” He expressed confidence that Mistick, who was unanimously appointed by the board of trustees in March, is the leader who brings the academic credentials, entrepreneurial spirit, and business acumen that Wilson will need to thrive in today's shifting landscape of higher education.

“Wilson has been blessed to have the right leader with the right skills for each moment in her history, and today that remarkable run continues with the inauguration of Dr. Mistick,” Gibb said.

Read more.

AWBC Study: Women’s Business Centers Have Impact

The Association of Women's Business Centers (AWBC) recently conducted a survey among the country's 110 women's business centers, of which Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify is one.

Here's what the survey found.

WBCs are making an impact:  In FY2010, WBCs did helped to launch 13,301 new businesses, helped to create an estimated 36,578 new jobs from new and existing firms, and supported firms that contributed a collective $1.3 billion to the U.S. economy.
    WBC services are under-measured: In fiscal year 2010, WBCs trained, counseled, mentored, or otherwise served nearly 200,000 clients, averaging just over 1,800 clients per center. This figure is fully 24% higher than U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) statistics, because the SBA's management information system does not fully capture the breadth of WBC support.

    WBCs are efficient and cost effective:  The survey finds that WBCs operate with an average of 4 full-time and 2 part-time staff, and leverage a ratio of 5 volunteer teachers, trainers, and mentors per each staff member.

    A three-page summary of the survey findings is available for free here (pdf).

    Exporting Assistance for Small Businesses

    photo source: jdnx
    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has provided $30 million in grants to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to help increase exporting by small businesses during the next 12 months.  for trade and export promotion. The grants are part of the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program.

    The funding will support participation in foreign trade missions, foreign market sales trips, subscriptions to services provided by the Department of Commerce, website translation fees, design of international marketing media, trade show exhibitions, participation in training workshops, and other critical export initiatives.

    The SBA anticipates it will conduct a new competition for STEP program grants during the winter of 2011. Awards will be made in September 2012 for export support services by states over the following 12 months.

    The grants were authorized by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. The STEP program, launched in March, aligns with President Obama’s National Export Initiative. The President’s initiative calls for doubling U.S. exports in five years – and in so doing, supporting two million jobs. The program provides federal government funding for 65 to75 percent of program costs, with states supplying the remainder.

    “Strengthening the nation’s economy through a substantial increase of U.S. exports is a top priority for the Administration and the agency,” said Karen Mills, SBA Administrator. “This is a unique partnership between the federal government and the states. Sharing responsibilities and resources will help new small exporters across the country enter and succeed in the global market.”

    Small businesses who want to receive assistance under the STEP program should contact the organizations serving their states. Find a list of these organizations and more information about the STEP program here.

    Developments in Women-Owned Businesses, 1997-2007

    The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has released the study "Developments in Women-owned Businesses, 1997-2007" (pdf).  The study looks at developments in women-owned businesses during that ten-year period using data from the Census Bureau’s Surveys of Business Owners. During this time, women's share of total U.S. firms increased from 26 percent in 1997 to almost 29 percent by 2007.

    “In a series of roundtables across the country, we heard from women business owners that they face many of the same challenges other small business owners face—particularly challenges related to access to capital and regulatory burdens,” said Chief Counsel for Advocacy Winslow Sargeant. “This research places women-owned businesses in the context of the wider business community and will provide valuable information for policymakers as we move forward.”

    The study found the following: 
    • Twelve percent of women-owned businesses were employers in 2007, while 88% were non-employers.
    • Women-owned businesses accounted for 4% of total business receipts in 2007.
    • Women-owned firms employed 6.4 % of the 118.6 million employees of employer firms in 2007. 
    • The top four sectors for employer firms owned by women were retail trade, professional services, health care and social assistance, and accommodations. 
    • In five states and the District of Columbia, the number of women-owned businesses per 1,000 persons was greater than 30 in 2007.
    For more information and to access the full report, visit the SBA Office of Advocacy website.

    Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers

    Whose untapped potential holds the promise to grow the U.S. economy?

    According to a new Kauffman report, it's women who are capable of starting growth companies that serve global markets.

    "Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers," a new paper from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, explores the reasons behind lower business start-up rates among women and proposes actions that would help to realize the promise of female entrepreneurs in escalating the economy.

    Read more about the report here.

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