View this article as it originally appeared in the the Brunswick Times-Gazette, here.
On June 28, 2021, a large group of women gathered at the Brunswick County Conference Center to share their thoughts and insights regarding entrepreneurship and running their own small businesses. The Longwood Small Business Development Center in partnership with GO Virginia Region 3 and the SOVA Innovation Hub hosted this meeting to garner input from local minority women business owners. Ilsa Loeser from Letterpress Communications and Sheri McGuire from the Longwood Small Business Development Center were on hand to facilitate this meeting of the minds.
As the meeting opened, the women present were asked to introduce themselves and write three words that they felt described entrepreneurship and to discuss. This discussion led the group to examine the supports that are currently available to small business owners in our community. Common answers to this question were the Department of Economic Development, Family, and Community. This led into the challenges that small business owners face which included financial challenges, the challenge of not always knowing where to go for assistance and information, and marketing challenges.
As the meeting continued, there was much camaraderie and support between the attendees with women sharing ideas and assistance to other women in attendance. As the conversation came to a close, there was so much excitement and momentum that many women stayed over an hour after the event ended to have conversations with other small business owners. Alfreda Jarrett Reynolds, the Brunswick County Director of Economic Development, shared, “I was very encouraged by the turnout for this event as well as the enthusiasm that each of our attendees shared. It was wonderful to see like-minded people come together to offer of assistance and encouragement to each other. It is now evident that events like this are much needed in our community. This will not be a one-time opportunity, but the beginning of a conversation that we hope will continue for many years to come. We want to thank Ilsa and Sherie for bringing this event to Brunswick County and we appreciate their preparation and leadership.”
If you are a woman who is also a small business owner or who is thinking of starting a business, please contact the Brunswick County Department of Economic Development at (434) 848-3107 for more information on how to get involved with this focus group.