Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

5 Ways to Turn Merry Days into Money Days



Guest Post by Lyz Marshall, E-Magnify Business Counselor

Many of us are preparing for the holiday season with thoughts of giving and sharing with those close to us. For would-be entrepreneurs, it is also a perfect time to try out a business idea or new product or service. Why? The holiday season and new year creates a marketplace of consumers that are primed and ready to purchase goods and services that satisfy a need or desire. At a loss for business ideas or not sure what to do? Here are five ways to turn these Merry Days into Money Days: 

1. Create Something Unique and Personalized
  • Bake It: Do family and friends rely on you to make your special cookies or treats every year? Why not package them for sale this season? You could customize and market them to those busy parents that promise to have treats for the kids' play, a party or school event. 
  • Make It: Maybe you have a knack for thematic, ethnic or traditional decor or you are crafty and artistic. Why not start a customized home decorating service? That's what Martha Stewart did to build a multi-million dollar empire! Use your talents to develop ethnic or traditional items that make the season nostalgic for both young and old alike.
  • Create It: Perhaps you (or your kids) have a way with words and a great creative eye behind a camera. Why not create customized holiday animated cards, promotional videos, or customized ornaments for your school, church, or community/volunteer organization's fundraiser? Crowd funding is a popular fundraising medium but the top websites use a creative touch to gain momentum.

2. Offer a Gift of Time
  • Organize It: Maybe you have a talent for organizing and prioritizing in a way that makes 24-hours in a day double. Celebrities, executives, and famous people are not the only ones that deserve (and need) to have an assistant to stay on top of things. Offer concierge-type services to help organize busy schedules or coordinate visiting family and friends' holiday travels or entertainment needs.
  • Find It: Love to shop and bargain hunt? Be a personal shopper to purchase and deliver recipe ingredients or hard to find ‘wish list’ items to your client's home. I once hired a girlfriend to be a personal shopper after I was bedridden due to a major surgery. It was the best $50 investment I ever made! She fulfilled a real need, made some extra cash (I relied on her several times), and helped a friend in need. 
  • Shuttle or Watch It: What about offering to be a shuttle service for visiting friends and relatives that need transport to and from the airport, train or bus station? Maybe you are better at organizing and entertaining younger people? Offer a sitting service for those parents that need to catch early bird or late night sales or need time to hide those treasures. (Psst...Don't forget to check with the parents of furry, four-legged family members)!

3. Clean Up and Out
  • Clean It: The holiday season is also a time of endless parties and gatherings that generate a lot of clutter and trash. After a day of decorating, entertaining and hosting, who really has the time or energy to clean before or after the party? Here's your chance to shine --literally! Offer a party preparation and clean up service that specializes in before and after party clean up for families, community groups, or organizations. 
  • Clear It: Offer a de-cluttering service to haul away old debris and trash before or after house or party guests arrive. Don’t stop there…help with the removal of old items within the home and around the home that are safety hazards.

4. Get Some Hang time
  • Hang It: Are you (or a significant other) handy around the house? Offer a service to hang and later remove outside Christmas lights and yard decorations. 
  • Build It: Other services might include building and setting up cumbersome decorations and trees, assembling complex electronics and entertainment systems, or assembling toys and furniture.

5. Turn Something Old into Something New
  • Recycle It: Let's face it. We are a culture of people that collects stuff. People have packed garages, storage units, and homes filled with forgotten or overlooked treasures. Take a look around to see if you may have slightly used or unused items that could be sold on eBay or Craig's List. Think of the new or upgraded items you could get in exchange. This is especially true for old cell phones and games that are dusty gold mines of cash! 
  • Consign It: That extra holiday weight gain might make some clothes and shoes a little more snug than you would like. Why not give them a new home and a fresh start for others in need through consignment shops and stores.

By taking just a little time to offer your talent and resources, the holiday and new year can be a much merrier season -- all the way to the bank!  Do you like these ideas but you are still not sure of how to start?  Contact E-Magnify women's business center and schedule a free appointment with a business counselor to help you get started.

What are some ways you make extra money during the holidays and all year round? Tell us here or share your ideas in a comment. 

About the Author: 
Lyzona Marshall is an E-Magnify Business Counselor, Assistant Professor of
Business at Seton Hill University, and a business owner. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Ask the Experts" Free, Recorded Webinar

Q&A Session to Help You Start Your Business - Ask the Experts!

E-Magnify Business Counselor Lyzona Marshall participated in AARP's “Ask the Experts” webinar on November 13.

The webinar was recorded, and is available online for no charge. (Free registration is required.)

During this hour-long webinar, small business owners and staff from the SBA and AARP answered questions on the following topics:

  • Developing Your Business Idea and Plan;
  • Securing Financing;
  • Marketing; and
  • Getting a Mentor.

Access "Ask the Experts" here.



Friday, December 12, 2014

Free Resources for PoweredUp Sales

As part of PoweredUp Sales, our new Signature Business Training Series, we are pleased to offer you four complimentary whitepapers from sales training expert Larry Lewis of Client Builder Sales & Marketing LLC.

Download these sales whitepapers: 

About PoweredUp Sales:
Business development is the #1 need of small business owners. That's why E-Magnify + PowerLink has teamed up with Client Builder Selling to help small business owners take charge of their sales through a new Signature Sales Training Course.

This sales training program provides business owners with the ability to hire salespeople with confidence, rapidly get them up to speed and develop effective systems for selling and sales management that improve topline revenue and profitability.

The program will consist of four in-person two-hour workshops conducted at the E-Magnify + PowerLink Pittsburgh office (located at C-leveled in Bloomfield) and eight two-hour virtual workshops conducted live over the internet via web conference. The workshops will be conducted over six months (two per month) by Larry Lewis and Wendy Lydon.

Next Session: January 12 - June 15, 2015
Register by December 19, 2014 to save $200. 



Friday, December 5, 2014

How to Increase Your Company's Selling Horsepower



Join us on Monday (December 8) for a special, complimentary presentation by two expert sales trainers. Learn how you and your sales team can PowerUp YOUR sales! 

Date: December 8, 2014
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Location: E-Magnify + PowerLink Office at C-leveled in Bloomfield (4117 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA)
Cost: No charge to attend

Trainers: 
Larry Lewis
Founder & President
Client Builder Sales & Marketing, LLC

Wendy Lydon
Business Coach & Vice President
ThistleSea Business Development


















Business development is the #1 need of small business owners. That’s why E-Magnify + PowerLink has teamed up with Client Builder Selling to help small business owners take charge of their sales through a new Signature Sales Training Course. 

Click here to reserve your complimentary seat for "How to Increase Your Company's Selling Horsepower" on December 8 to meet the trainers! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nominations Open: BusinessWomen First Awards





Nominations are now open for the 2015 BusinessWomen First Awards.

Presented by the Pittsburgh Business Times, the 2015 BusinessWomen First Awards honor the region's most influential business women. They're looking for women from every industry and profession; women who've made a difference in their communities, blazed a trail for other women and are leaving a mark on the western Pennsylvania business community.


Deadline is December 31, 2014.  Read the eligibility requirements for nominees. 

For more information, contact Richard Cerilli at rcerilli@bizjournals.com or 412-208-3815.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Stand Out from the Crowd (Marketing Workshop)

Learn how to stand out from the crowd and get positive marketing results. Come to the next Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber Leadership Development Series presentation on December 8. 

Event: How to Stand Out from a Crowd and Get Positive Marketing Results
Date: Monday, December 8 
Time: 7:30 a.m.—9:00 a.m. 
Location: Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber Headquarters, Wexford, PA

Presenters:
Cindy Neky, Certified Social Media Strategist 
Cindy is a certified Social Media Strategist, Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert, marketing consultant and engaging speaker. She makes learning about the new marketing trends interesting and valuable. 

Leslie Goldstein, Certified Direct Marketing Specialist
Leslie is one of only 60 US Postal Service Certified Direct Marketing Specialists. Before joining the USPS, Leslie served as Vice President of Marketing Solutions for a direct marketing agency. 

Register online here ($10 for Chamber members, $20 for nonmembers).

Presented in partnership by Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber, Seton Hill Univeristy's E-Magnify, Duquesne University Small Business Development Center, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Huntington Bank.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

PowerUp Lunch: 60 Great Ideas in 60 Minutes! (Dec. 11)

Join E-Magnify + PowerLink for a power packed PowerUp Lunch


Date: December 11, 2014
Time: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. 
Location: Rivers Club, Pittsburgh, PA

Speakers:
  • Finance: Gina Homa, First Commonwealth Bank
  • Marketing: Andrea Fitting, C-leveled
  • HR: Deb Patrick, Leadership Designers, Inc.
  • Sales: Wendy Lydon, ThistleSea Business Development, LLC

What You'll Learn:   
  • Four of our best and brightest PowerLink Advisors will share their top tips for business success.
  • Learn 60 rapid fire steps you can take to grow your business.
  • Start the new year loaded with ideas.

Come ready to learn. The ideas will be flying fast and furious!

Join us as each of our panelists shares her top tips for business growth and success. They will share 60 tips in 60 minutes, so we will be moving fast and generating lots of ideas you can implement right away.

Jumpstart your 2015 growth plans!  Registration is just $35 (includes lunch). 

Friday, November 21, 2014

PowerUp YOUR Sales!




Business development is the #1 need of small business owners. That’s why E-Magnify + PowerLink has teamed up with Client Builder Selling to help small business owners take charge of their sales through a new Signature Sales Training Course! (Class starts January 2015.) 

Meet the trainers and find out more at a special complimentary presentation:

Event: “How to Increase Your Company's Selling Horsepower ” 
Date: December 8, 2014
Time: 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Location: E-Magnify + PowerLink Office at C-leveled in Bloomfield (4117 Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh, PA)

Trainers: 
Larry Lewis
Founder & President
Client Builder Sales & Marketing, LLC

Wendy Lydon
Business Coach & Vice President
ThistleSea Business Development

















The PoweredUp Sales Training Course is comprised of a robust curriculum that includes the following:
  • 12 two-hour sessions (live and online over six months) conducted by professional sales trainers Larry Lewis and Wendy Lydon;
  • Access to the Client Builder AcademyTM online sales coaching platform for six months; and
  • A Client Builder Academy portfolio and a 220-page book titled Client Builder Selling by Larry Lewis.

Make sure you and members of your sales team have a seat in this new program! Class starts January 12, 2015.

Click here to reserve your complimentary seat for "How to Increase Your Company's Selling Horsepower" on December 8 to meet the trainers! 

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 29


Is your small business ready for next weekend's Small Business Saturday?

This year’s Small Business Saturday takes place on November 29, 2014. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to strengthening the community by supporting local small businesses. 

Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States. In 2013, nearly 1,500 Neighborhood Champions rallied local businesses and created events and activities to drive shopping at small businesses around the country. The day was also championed by elected officials in all 50 states and Washington D.C., including President Obama who took his daughters shopping at a local bookstore.


E-Magnify recognizes the importance of supporting small businesses, the jobs they help create and the culture they instill in local communities. According to the U.S. Small Businesses Administration, as of 2012, small businesses nationwide accounted for 64% of net new private-sector jobs created and represented 99.7% of all employer firms.1 

Merchants (and consumers) can learn more about Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting ShopSmall.com and the official Small Business Saturday Facebook page.



Thursday, November 20, 2014

ATHENAPowerLink Launches in Centre & Clearfield Counties



Judy L. Loy and Jessica Dolan Selected to Participate in Year-Long Advisory Services Program Sponsored by PNC Bank and Babst Calland 

Congratulations to the two newest ATHENAPowerLink® (APL) program participants: 

These two woman-owned businesses in Centre and Clearfield counties have been selected to participate in a year-long program designed to increase growth and profitability through the national ATHENAPowerLink® (APL) program.

APL pairs women business owners with a customized board of advisors who provide financial advice, business best practices, networking and the services and technical assistance necessary to help them reach their business goals. 

Amy Marshall, attorney at Babst Calland and a member of the APL Centre/Clearfield Governing Body, made the announcement during the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Lunch on November 19 at the State College Municipal Building. The luncheon was held as part of Pennsylvania State University's Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration.

“Seton Hill University E-Magnify women's business center is pleased to partner with PNC Bank and Babst Calland and other dynamic leaders interested in advancing women’s entrepreneurship in Centre and Clearfield Counties,” said Jayne Huston, E-Magnify Director. “We recognize the influence and potential of women-owned businesses in this area and believe the ATHENAPowerLink program provides a compliment to existing support for women owned companies to fuel their business growth even more."

About the Businesses: 
Nestlerode & Loy, Inc. is an investment advisory firm located in Central Pennsylvania helping individuals, small businesses and non-profits with their financial goals since 1937.  Judy Loy, CEO and owner of the firm, has been with the firm since 1992 and is excited for the opportunities and expertise that the APL Panel will provide her and her firm.  

Jessica Dolan, Bringer of Order for Room to Breathe Home Organizing, Staging & Redesign and Creator of the Entrepreneurial Women's Expo (EWE) is passionate about simplifying life to ensure happy, successful living; ensuring quick, top dollar sales through home staging; creating casually comfortable and beautiful homes for her clients. Jessica supports the goals of all women entrepreneurs by hosting an annual expo and leading several women in business groups.

About ATHENAPowerLink: 
The ATHENAPowerLink program has been successfully implemented in more than 30 cities across the United States, resulting in significant economic impact for participating woman business owners. APL is a trademarked program of ATHENA International and is locally administered by Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify. PNC Bank and the law firm of Babst Calland sponsored the local program license.

According to ATHENA International, participants achieve an average 88% increase in sales, a 37% increase in business income, and 56% increase in personal income after one year with the program. 

For the program’s first year, the two woman-owned business were selected based on need and potential for growth. E-Magnify, working together with the local Governing Body, will convene a team of experts in such fields as banking, human resources, entrepreneurship, sales, 
public accounting, law and others to advise the women business owners on how they can access capital, implement best practices and reach their operational and strategic goals.

PNC has a longstanding tradition of offering financial resources to women-owned businesses. Currently, more than 1,100 PNC-Certified Women’s Business Advocates in 19 states and the District of Columbia are actively engaged in supporting the achievement of female financial decision-makers. 


Locally, individuals serving on the ATHENAPowerLink Governing Body include: Chad Feather, PNC Wealth Management; Amy Marshall, the law firm of Babst Calland; Heather Fennessey, Penn State Small Business Development Center; Sue Greene, Penn State Corporate Learning; Tere Rill, The Women’s Journal; John Vidmar, Ben Franklin; Mary Kay Williams, Mind Shift Consulting and Georgia Abby, Leadership Centre County.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Local Veterans Start Business with E-Magnify's Help

Brandy and Vitalijs "V" Jevsjukov
In honor of Veteran's Day, E-Magnify is pleased to share the story of Brandy and Vitalijs "V" Jevsjukov, military veterans and owners of Warriors’ Call Boxing.

Brandy and V are Gulf War veterans who met while serving in Iraq. V is of Latvian/Russian decent and is a resident of the U.S. Brandy was born and raised in Ambridge, a hard-working steel mill town outside of Pittsburgh,.

Brandy is a disabled veteran. Upon her final deployment, she suffered physical ailments and the effects of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Once she was back home, she realized that she needed an outlet that would help her to heal. As a young girl, she had trained with her father on a heavy bag and speed bag. Brandy said that she remembered feeling strong, yet relaxed, so she found the nearest boxing gym and started training. She had found her wonder drug, and it wasn't a pill, but a pair of boxing gloves! Brandy and V felt that they needed to share this “secret” with everyone.

As a result, the Jevsjukovs have founded Warrior's Call Boxing, which is slated open in Baden, PA, by January 2015. The business will provide boxing training for all ages and skill levels along with kettlebell and F.A.S.T. (Fear Adrenaline Stress Training) for self-defense. 

Brandy and V's vision includes forming “Will of the Warrior” (WOW), a nonprofit that will provide free training to disabled veterans and disabled first responders to help them regain their physical and mental health through boxing. Once warriors have begun the healing process, they will be given the opportunity to become boxing coaches, personal trainers, or self-defense instructors, with all training and exam fees provided by the WOW Program.

Brandy and V have been working for months preparing a location for their business. Many individuals have assisted along the way, donating expertise, equipment and guidance. An architectural firm, owned by a disabled veteran, donated its time.

Brandy and V have worked with various business mentoring organizations, including working closely with an E-Magnify business counselor who has helped them to secure an approved equipment lease for their final financing needs.


"Each Warrior has the will, we simply guide them to find their way," says Brandy.

The staff of E-Magnify thanks Brandy and V for their military service, and we are proud to have played a part in helping them find their way toward making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Learn more about E-Magnify's free, one-on-one mentoring sessions for women at all stages of business ownership. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Scholarships for CORE FOUR® Business Planning Course

Scholarships are available! Enrollment is normally $300, but you can still register for just $150 (includes textbook and all materials). 

Are you starting a new business or growing a current business?

Do you need help developing your business ideas and writing a business plan?

Join us for the next CORE FOUR® Business Planning Course. (Class starts November 5.)

Topics include:
  • Marketing Plan Preparation
  • Business Plan Preparation
  • Cash Flow Projections
  • Business Operating Procedures
Class Dates: November 5, 12, 10, and December 3, 2014
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. (all classes)
Location: 131 West Crawford Avenue, Connellsville, PA

Presented by Downtown Connellsville, E-Magnify, and SBA.

Class size is limited. Learn more and register here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October is Women's Small Business Month

Did you know that October is Women's Small Business Month? (Of course, if you are a woman who owns a small business, every month is women's small business month for you!)

But as October closes in on November and businesses everywhere ramp up for the holiday shopping season, it's good to take a moment to reflect on the state of women-owned small businesses.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration:
The face of entrepreneurship is changing in America. Women-owned small businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and are helping us recover from the Great Recession.
Yet, there are still profound challenges women small business owners face – lack of access to capital and resources, lack of knowledge about business basics, and lack of financial education. Women entrepreneurs should not be discouraged or be deterred for these reasons.
E-Magnify provides vital services and resources to help women overcome the challenges they face in today's economy.

"As an SBA women's business center, E-Magnify provides no-cost, direct client counseling for women interested in starting a business or growing an existing business," says Jayne H. Huston, director of E-Magnify. "Our business counselors understand the unique challenges that women entrepreneurs face. E-Magnify brings more than 20 years of expertise and education to women at all stages of business, from entry to emerging through established. As far as we're concerned here at E-Magnify, every month is women's small business month!"

You can learn more about E-Magnify's counseling, training, and mentoring services online, or contact us to learn how we can help you with your business. We love hearing from you!

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 www.sba.gov/content/applying-hubzone-program.





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.”

Free Affordable Care Act Webinars for Business Owners

As the next phase of open enrollment approaches under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) have announced a series of live webinars launching this fall to assist business owners.

As part of its Small Business Health Care Advisory Council, the SBDC has partnered with legal, employee benefits, and tax experts to develop business-focused ACA presentations specifically for small firms.

Confirmed speakers include:


  • Jessica Dunlap, CPA, The Catanese Group, PICPA Representative

  • Bill Long, SMC Insurance Agency
  • Eric Pochas, Vantagen LLC

  • Nicole Radziewicz, Rhoads & Sinon LLP


The webinars will be delivered in two parts: ACA 101 for employers with less than 50 employees and ACA 201 for employers with 50-100 employees. There is no fee to attend these webinars, but registration is required.  



ACA 101 (less than 50 employees) will cover important definitions and thresholds such as shared responsibility and minimum essential coverage, qualifying for exemptions, coverage options for sole proprietors, premium assistance subsidy (also known as tax credits or rebates), information on calculating full time employees under the Act, employee notice requirements for employers, practical advice on where to get insurance, and budgeting for health care.



(Click on a webinar in the list below for details and registration.) 



ACA 201 (more than 50 employees) will address important scenarios and examples such as what provisions of the Act are already in effect, calculating full time equivalents, determining full-time status and eligibility, requirements of insurance coverage by applicable large employers, obtaining health insurance coverage for company employees, and next steps for employers related to the ACA.



(Click on a webinar in the list below for details and registration.)  

SBA to Award $8 Million to Promote Small Business Exporting

SBA Announces FY14 State Trade & Export Promotion Awards

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that 24 awards will be made to states to support activities to increase exporting by small businesses. The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program was appropriated $8 million to award by September 30, 2014.

The STEP program has two objectives: 1) increase the number of small businesses that begin to export and 2) increase the value of exports for small businesses that currently export. 


The 2014 awards are designed for states to assist small businesses with the following export related activities:
  • participation in foreign trade missions, 
  • foreign market sales trips, 
  • subscription services provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 
  • design of international marketing campaigns, 
  • export trade show exhibits, 
  • training workshops, or
  • other export initiatives that are in line with the objectives of the program.

“With today’s technological advances, small businesses are better equipped than ever to compete in a global marketplace.  Exporting provides tremendous opportunities for America’s small businesses that are looking to expand and create jobs.  The STEP program is another way that the U.S. Small Business Administration is partnering with states to give small businesses the tools and resources they need to take their business to the next level,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

“Exporting is big business throughout this region,” said SBA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho, who represents three of the districts receiving awards – Eastern and Western Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C.  “I look forward to seeing the positive impact the STEP awards will have, not only for the 24 states and districts which received them, but for the economy as a whole.”

For a list of awardees and more information on the STEP program, visit www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/oit/resources/14315.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Pittsburgh ATHENA Award Finalists

Suzy Teele, COO, SnapRetail
E-Magnify congratulates all of nominees and the finalists for the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award and is delighted to announce that our nominee, Suzy Teele, is among those finalists. Suzy is the Chief Operating Officer at SnapRetail, a ready-to-use online marketing for local store owners.

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.

2014 Finalists: 
  • Linda Croushore
 (Executive Director, The Consortium for Public Education)
  • Diane Holder
 (Executive Vice President, UPMC, President, UPMC Insurance Services Division, President & CEO, UPMC Health Plan)
  • Susan Kirsch
 (Shareholder – Tax Advisory Services, Schneider Downs)
    Karen Larrimer (
Chief Customer Officer and Chief Marketing Officer, PNC)
  • Suzy Teele
 (Chief Operating Officer, SnapRetail)
See a full list of the 2014 nominees here.

The winner will be honored on Monday, September 29, at the 2014 ATHENA & ATHENA Young Professional Awards Luncheon, held at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. Learn more about the awards and the luncheon.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Miss Representation Film Screening (Oct. 26)

 The next Pittsburgh screening and discussion of Miss Representation will take place Sunday, October 26, at 1:00 p.m. at the Kean Theatre, The Washington Place at St. Barnabas, in Gibsonia, PA.

The film will be followed by a facilitated interactive audience discussion led by Lee Ann Munger, PowerLink Director at Seton Hill University's E-Magnify. Lee Ann's passion for women's issues, and specifically women entrepreneurs, should guarantee a lively and thought-provoking discussion! 

Order tickets online here. (Early bird pricing available.)

Miss Representation exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media's limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful. Miss Representation includes stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and academics. Learn more about the film here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Disaster Preparedness for Your Business

Free Disaster Preparedness Webinars in September 
 
Throughout September, the U.S. Small Business Administration will offer free weekly webinars to help business owners take charge of the well-being of companies, the safety of their employees, and the sustenance of their local economies by being prepared to rebound quickly from any kind of disaster. 

The series is hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Agility Recovery and  presented in collaboration with FEMA’s Ready Campaign as part of National Preparedness Month.  

Each year small businesses nationwide are forced to close their doors in the aftermath of severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes. Business interruptions, even if they last just a few hours, are costly in terms of lost productivity and profits.

The half-hour webinars will be presented at 2 p.m., Eastern time, each Wednesday in September.  Visit http://snurl.com/296yw4e to register for any or all of the webinars listed below:

>September 3: Crisis Communications for Any Organization
Learn best practices for developing an emergency communication strategy.

>September 10: How to Plan for a Power Interruption…and Recover Fast
Tips on how to make your company resilient and better prepared to mitigate losses during power outages.

>September 17: The Top 5 Steps for Preparedness This Year
The top five ways to prepare for disaster-related business interruptions will be discussed.

>September 24: If You Do Nothing Else This Year
Simple, low-cost tips on building a solid business continuity plan.

SBA has partnered with Agility Recovery to offer business continuity strategies through their “PrepareMyBusiness” website. Visit www.preparemybusiness.org to check out the archived webinars and for more disaster preparedness tools. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seeking WBOs in Centre & Clearfield Counties for APL Advisory Board Applications




E-Magnify announces the expansion of the ATHENAPowerLink® (APL) program into Centre and Clearfield counties. APL is now available in a 27-county service area in Western Pennsylvania.
 
Women business owners in Centre and Clearfield counties are invited to apply to the ATHENAPowerLink® (APL) program. Through the APL program, women-owned businesses are paired with a customized board of advisors who provide financial advice, business best practices, networking and the services and technical assistance necessary to help them reach their business goals.

Application Criteria:
  • Businesses must be at  least 51% owned and actively managed by a woman,
  • Minimum of two years in operation
  • Minimum of two full-time employees (including the owner)
  • Annual revenues of at least
    • $250,000 for retail or manufacturing businesses
    • $100,000 for service businesses
  • Clearly defined company objectives and goals with explicit reasons for seeking assistance from ATHENAPowerLink® in meeting those objectives and goals
Application deadline: September 15, 2014

Click here for applications and additional information.

If you would like to speak to someone about the program, please contact Chad Feather, 814-231-6942, local sponsor, or Jayne Huston, E-Magnify Director, 724-830-4625.

About ATHENAPowerLink®:
The program has been successfully implemented in more than 30 cities across the United States resulting in significant economic impact for participating woman business owners. APL is a trademarked program of ATHENA International and is locally administered by Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify. The Women’s Business Center, home to the original PowerLink Advisory Board program founded more than 20 years ago in Pittsburgh, provides business counseling, training and mentoring programs to start up and growing women entrepreneurs throughout Western Pennsylvania. PNC Bank and the law firm of Babst Calland sponsored the local program license.

According to ATHENA International, participants achieve an average 88 percent increase in sales, a 37 percent increase in business income and 56 percent increase in personal income after one year with the program.

For the program’s first year, one woman-owned business will be selected based on its need and potential for growth. E-Magnify, working together with the local Governing Body, will then convene a team of experts in such fields as banking, human resources, entrepreneurship, sales,
public accounting, law and others to advise the woman business owner on how she can access capital, implement best practices and reach her operational and strategic goals.

“Twenty-six percent (26%) of businesses in Centre and Clearfield Counties are majority women-owned companies,” said Chad Feather, PNC Wealth Management Banking Advisor.            “We recognize the influence and potential of women-owned businesses and are pleased to now offer APL as an opportunity for women to further excel – strengthening the economic viability of their businesses and our community.”

PNC has a longstanding tradition of offering financial resources to women-owned businesses. Currently, more than 1,100 PNC-Certified Women’s Business Advocates in 19 states and the District of Columbia are actively engaged in supporting the achievement of female financial decision-makers.

Locally, individuals serving on the ATHENAPowerLink Governing Body include: Chad Feather, PNC Wealth Management; Amy Marshall, the law firm of Babst Calland; Heather Fennessey, Penn State Small Business Development Center; Sue Greene, Penn State Corporate Learning; Tere Rill, The Women’s Journal; John Vidmar, Ben Franklin; Mary Kay Williams, Mind Shift Consulting and Georgia Abby, Leadership Centre County.

Read media coverage about APL in Centre and Clearfield Counties from StateCollege.com and Chamber of Business and Industry Centre County.

Monday, August 4, 2014

E-Magnify Attends "Empowering Women Entrepreneurs" Senate Hearing

E-Magnify's Education and Training Manager, Debra Mason, recently attended "Empowering Women Entrepreneurs," a Senate hearing hosted by the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee and held in conjunction with Women Influencing Public Policy’s annual leadership meeting in Washington, D.C. 

The Washington Bureau of the Business Journals reports on three things that Congress and the federal government could do to help women business owners: 

1) Enable more women business owners to access  capital.
"
Women business owners have a harder time getting loans than men do. Women own around 30 percent of all small businesses, but they receive only 16 percent of small business loans, according to the committee’s report. In terms of dollars, women's share of business loans is only 4 percent."

2) Award more federal contracts to women-owned businesses.
"The federal government has never reached its 20-year-old goal of awarding 5 percent of all its prime contracting dollars to women. Failure to reach this goal has cost women business owners nearly $6 billion in contracts every year."

3) Increase funding to Women's Business Centers.
"Around 134,000 women business owners receive business training and counseling every year from the SBA's network of nearly 100 Women's Business Centers, which are operated by and partially funded by nonprofit organizations.

"But this program hasn't been reauthorized since 1999 and needs updating, the committee report concludes. It mostly needs more money -- government funding has remained flat even as the number of centers have grown."

Read the full article here. 

Network at Connect the Dots (Wednesday, Aug. 6)

Join us for PowerLink's Connect the Dots event this Wednesday (5-8pm) in Bloomfield! 
 
A message from Lee Ann Munger, PowerLink Director....

Do you remember playing Connect the Dots as a kid? You'd begin with a page of seemingly random numbers, but as you began to move your pencil around the page, there was a delightful surprise as a picture would appear. Those random connections turned out to be part of a much bigger picture.

So, too, with our business connections. We form relationships one on one, but when we put them together, we can leverage a powerful network.

That's what PowerLink's Connect the Dots event is all about. 

In one evening, we provide a fantastic networking opportunity. It’s a chance to see how many connections you already have within the PowerLink community (whether you realize it or not) – and of course, an opportunity to make more.

Join us
Connect the Dots
August 6, 2014
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
 C-leveled (in Bloomfield)
4117 Liberty Ave.,
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Cost: $35
(free valet parking available)


PowerLink connections are powerful indeed. Our more than 200 clients are some of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh region. In addition, our pool of talented advisors is comprised of some of the sharpest business minds in town.

When you put it all together, PowerLink is a force that is driving business growth for women entrepreneurs. Although only 3% of women-owned businesses nationally have revenues over $1 million, 54% of PowerLink companies exceed $1 million. However, most exciting is that 32% of those companies hurdled $1 million after engaging their PowerLink Advisory Board.

Perhaps you’ve worked with PowerLink throughout its more than 20-year history, or maybe you are new to PowerLink and would like to learn more. Either way, please join E-Magnify and PowerLink for Connect the Dots on Wednesday, August 6. We want you to be part of our big picture!



About PowerLink: Founded in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1991, PowerLink is a unique and proven resource for advancing women-owned businesses. In January 2013, PowerLink formed a strategic alliance with Seton Hill University's E-Magnify, bringing together two of the Pittsburgh region's strongest organizations dedicated to the growth of women entrepreneurs.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

E-Magnify, PowerLink & WPO in China



Representatives from Seton Hill University's E-Magnify women's business center, PowerLink, and the Greensburg chapter of Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) traveled to China last month to present at Sino-American Women Entrepreneurs Conference at an International Symposium at Nanjing School of Business.

Jayne Huston (E-Magnify Director) and Lee Ann Munger (PowerLink Director) were among the seven women who made the 14-hour journey to Nanjing in June. Seton Hill University (SHU) first established a relationship with the Chinese business program through JoAnne Boyle, past president of SHU.

The following members of the Greensburg chapter of WPO, which is hosted by E-Magnify, were also part of the group: Melissa Blystone (president of Valley Dairy), Barbara VanKirk (president of IQ Inc.), and Jan Lehigh, (president of Alpine Packaging). 

See more photos of the trip on E-Magnify's Facebook page. 

Read more about the trip in this Tribune Review article.

Friday, July 18, 2014

QuickBooks Clinics in August

Presented by Fayette County Cultural Trust in partnership with E-Magnify

Dates: August 5, 12, & 19, 2014
Location: Connellsville, PA

Learn QuickBooks for your small business. Three sessions for $150. For more information and to register, please contact J. Michael Edwards at 724-626-1645 or jmedwards@zoominternet.net.

Meet the Lenders (July 31)


Presented by The River Town Program, hosted by E-Magnify & SBA
Date: July 31, 2014
Time: 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Location: Point Marion, PA

This is a unique opportunity to learn about financing opportunities with representatives from Pennsylvania and West Virginia lending institutions, economic development organizations, and certified development companies. More than 20 resources available to assist WV and PA small businesses. The forum is free, but seating is limited. RSVP required. Please contact Cathy McCollom at csm@mccollomds.com or 814-395-9139.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Free SBA Webinars for WBOs re: Federal Contracting

Women business owners are invited to learn more about increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the federal contracting arena. The hour-long webinar will be led by SBA officials, and will help to answer questions and give valuable insight to women entrepreneurs on doing business in the federal marketplace.

WHAT: SBA Office Hours Webinar on Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program
WHEN: June 26, 2014 (2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET)
HOW: Registration is free, but required. Please contact LeAnn.Delaney@sba.gov to sign up.

The federal government is the biggest buyer in the world and is a must-have customer for women-owned companies. SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program presents an opportunity for small businesses to increase their presence in the federal marketplace. 

To learn more about the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-federal-contract-program.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Nominate a Woman: ATHENA Awards of Greater Pittsburgh


Do you know a woman in the Pittsburgh region who demonstrates excellence in her work and mentorship of other women? Or a younger woman who is emerging as a leader? Nominate them here by THIS Friday (June 27, 2014) for the Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards.

Taking its name from the Greek goddess of strength and wisdom, the ATHENA Award recognizes women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community and help other women to succeed. As in 2011, the local ATHENA committee will also recognize an emerging leader age 35 or younger with the ATHENA Young Professional Award. (Click here to read more about previous award recipients.

Learn more and submit nominations here by 5 p.m. on June 27, 2014. Nominations will only be accepted online. Please also mark your calendar for the awards luncheon on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh. More than 900 women and men attended last year’s luncheon, which is one of the largest gatherings among the hundreds of ATHENA International-affiliated events presented around the world each year.

Monday, June 2, 2014

White House Rural Council in Canonsburg (June 4)

Event: White House Rural Council's Made in Rural America Regional Forum
Date: June 4, 2014 
Location: Hilton Garden Inn in the Southpointe Business Park, Canonsburg, PA 

The White House Rural Council’s Made in Rural America export and investment initiative is holding a regional forum on expanding international market opportunities. This forum will help rural firms understand ways to grow their business by finding new customers overseas or selling more to their existing international customers.  

Hosted by the Appalachian Regional Commission, the full-day forum will take place on June 4 at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Southpointe Business Park in Canonsburg, PA.
 
The regional forum in Canonsburg is the first of five across the country that will highlight federal, state, and local resources to help rural businesses and community leaders take advantage of export opportunities and access new customers and markets abroad.

The forum will highlight the role exports can play in helping rural businesses access new opportunity and helping rural communities add jobs and ensure long-term sustainable growth. Attendees will hear from experienced local exporters and from local, state, and federal organizations about resources and opportunities to help rural companies meet their export objectives. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, chair of the White House Rural Council, is invited to speak, along with Doug McKalip, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs for the White House Domestic Policy Council and ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl.
 
The event is free and will include lunch, but registration is required. Learn more here. If you have any questions, please contact ARC at ruralexports@arc.gov.

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