For Immediate Release
September 21, 2015
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
BOSTON - Monday, September 21, 2015 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WE BOS), a new City of Boston initiative that will advance Boston's women entrepreneurs by providing the skills, technical assistance and network women need to launch and grow their business.
"We know that women led businesses continue to face challenges including limited funding, challenges in scaling, and finding mentors and networks to support them as they grow," said Mayor Walsh. "I am proud to kick-off WE BOS to better address these challenges and promote economic equity in Boston."
Kara Miller, a South Boston resident, will be managing the new initiative. Kara has spent the last two years building the Women on Main program and will expand its work through WE BOS.
In partnership with the Mayor's office of Women's Advancement and Office of Business Development, WE BOS will support all women entrepreneurs, including startups, home-based businesses and the established brick-and-mortar mainstays of Boston's neighborhoods, with the goal to increase the number of well-established women entrepreneurs in the City of Boston and to strengthen and grow Boston's existing women-owned businesses.
To begin its work in these areas, from October 12-16, WE BOS will bring together leaders in Boston's entrepreneurial ecosystem to launch Boston's first-ever Women Entrepreneurs Week. During this week, Boston's women entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to attend events throughout the City featuring high-profile speakers, skill-building workshops, round-table discussions, and networking opportunities to help women entrepreneurs build their networks and learn new skills to build and scale their businesses.
Women make up more than half of Boston's residents, yet only 1 dollar of every 23 dollars in conventional bank loans and less than 3 percent of venture capital funding is allocated to women-owned businesses.
"I am thrilled to expand our reach to women owned businesses through WE BOS." said Kara Miller, WE BOS program manager. "I am proud to live and work in a city that understands how important women entrepreneurs are to our economic ecosystem."
"Launching WE BOS is critical to the Mayor's commitment and vision for the women of Boston. Mayor Walsh understands that this is not only the right thing to do, but it's also important to the vitality and economy of our city as a whole." Megan Costello, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement. "We are excited to partner with skilled women who are shaping the course of our city."
The largest event of WE BOS week will be the Women Entrepreneurs Evening, hosted by Innovation Women, on Wednesday, October 14th from6:00 - 8:30 pm at District Hall. At this expo, attendees will have the opportunity to meet representatives from Boston's top organizations that support women entrepreneurs. The night will also include Mass Innovation Night's second annual Women Founders night.
For a complete list of events happening thougout Women Entrepreneurs Week, visit www.we-bos.com or follow @we_bos on twitter. Today in Boston, 18,709 women-owned businesses employ 26,209 people. These businesses account for more that $4 billion in sales and contribute almost $7.6 billion to the Gross City Product. Women-owned businesses also increase consumer spending by $1.4 billion and provide more than $208 million in tax revenue. In spite of this, women owned businesses receive less bank, venture capital, and angel funding than their male counterparts. To guide its work, WE BOS will be working in three priority areas: funding, scaling, and mentoring and networking. WE BOS is the next step in the Walsh Administration's commitment to supporting the success of Boston's women entrepreneurs. WE BOS builds on the success of the City's Women on Main initiative, which has assisted more than 700 women entrepreneurs since its inception. Women on Main has partnered with Babson's Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, and their Women Innovating Now (WIN) lab. Each year five Women on Main Fellows are selected to participate in the WIN lab, an incubator that helps women entrepreneurs take their business from idea to launch. In addition, the Women on Main initiative has hosted an array of events including the Women's Business Accelerator, which brought together 100 women, and was presented in partnership with The Center for Women and Enterprise, Babson, and the Boston Women's Entrepreneurial Council.