Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is Nov. 19, and commemorates the work of women entrepreneurs.
The first WED was held last year in New York City at the United Nations, and celebrated in 144 other nations.
In October, the Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College featured a panel of local female entrepreneurs for their second annual Women Entrepreneurs Rock event at the Stone Pony.
“There are just over 9.4 million women-owned businesses in the United States generating nearly $1.5 trillion in revenue and employing over 7.9 million people,” said Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes, regional director of the New Jersey Small Business Development Center at Brookdale Community College. “For women, when you’re in business, there’s certain challenges we come across.”
Mejias-Fuertes represented the NJSBDC at the event, and she shared her best pieces of advice for women entrepreneurs.
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1. Don’t apologize unless you’re wrong
“Stop apologizing for having an opinion and knowing and doing what’s right. You know (when) someone bumps into us? What do we say as women? ‘I’m sorry.’ You know (when) something goes wrong? ‘I’m sorry.’ We need to stop apologizing. The only time you’re supposed to apologize is when you do something wrong.”
2. You are not ‘stupid’
“We need to stop negative talking about each other, or to yourself. I hear it all the time, women saying ‘I’m stupid.’ I never hear a man say that. You know, I see it in the young ladies, and I’m constantly telling young ladies, ‘You’re stupid? Why?’ We’re all human and we all make mistakes.”
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3. Trust your gut
“Women’s intuition, it’s a real thing. If you follow your intuition, you know you’ll always make the right decisions. Listen to yourself, listen to your gut, it’s talking to you for a reason, you need to stop ignoring it.”
“Believe in yourself, be persistent, persevere, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you know deep down inside you this is what you want to do, (then) start a business. You do what you have to do; you educate yourself, you surround yourself with people who are going to help you get there.”
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5. Embrace the ‘f-word’
“Embrace the f-word — feminism. What is feminism? Think about it. Feminism means you are an advocate for women’s rights. So if you believe in women’s rights, you’re a feminist, there’s nothing wrong with that. I know, I minored in women’s studies in my undergrad. While people think feminist is ‘women against men,’ no it isn’t. It’s about helping women empower women.”
6. Help each other
“(Former Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright (said), ‘there’s a special place in hell reserved for women who don’t help other women,’ so remember that. We (need to) help each other. We need to empower each other. Make sure you’re there as a role model and a mentor for the fellow sisters and your daughters.”
Devin Loring; 732-643-4035; email@example.com
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