"The National Foundation of Women Business Owners (NFWBO) has ascertained that women-owned businesses in the United States employ more than 18.5 million men and women, and generate almost $2.3 trillion in sales. In 1996, more than one-third (36%) of all firms are owned by women providing employment for one out of four (28%) of all US workers, and producing 18% of the nation’s business sales.1 Women-owned businesses comprise a powerful -- albeit almost invisible -- force in the economy.
Further NFWBO research has disclosed that most women business owners find the greatest satisfactions of entrepreneurship come from within, and are strongly entwined with the empowerment derived from gaining greater control of one’s life. The satisfactions of building and growing a business and of employing people and helping them to realize their full potential are also important rewards. Women owning businesses invariably display determination, vision, and adaptability; these are invaluable psychological strengths. But these women are frequently ill-equipped with the basic tools of their trade. The venerable joke, "The self-made man is an example of unskilled labor," is gender-free. Always facing overcrowded schedules with multiple obligations, how can the busy woman business owner -- or aspiring entrepreneur -- acquire the basic tools of her trade?
Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill (Boston), Massachusetts, has designed the Certificate in Entrepreneurship program -- an innovative curriculum meeting the needs of busy women juggling assorted work and family responsibilities. Pine Manor is one of 23 colleges or universities and three non-academic organizations that have been awarded grants for a new entrepreneurship intern program by The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Inc. at the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation (Kansas City, MO). Participants in the Certificate in Entrepreneurship program are eligible for these entrepreneurship internships.
This Pine Manor program, offered in collaboration with the New England Women Business Owners, is scheduled every Tuesday evening 6:30 to 9:30 PM from September through June. (Networking and dinner are available from 6:00 to 6:30 PM.) The opening class is Tuesday evening, September 17, but registration is ongoing. There are also accelerated options available on Thursday evenings to accommodate individual scheduling needs as well as those who were unable to join the program in September. While the paper credential is often not always essential for the participants, the woman completing the Certificate in Entrepreneurship earns 10.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). (Banks in the Boston area are looking favorably upon Certificate holders seeking business loans.) The courses included in this toolkit are:
- Entrepreneurship 101,
- Marketing Your Business,
- Selling and Presentation Skills,
- Time Management, Office Systems and Software,
- Accounting for Small Business,
- Financial Fundamentals for Small Business Success,
- Assembling a Support Team, and
- Writing a Business Plan: A Guide for Success.
A remarkable aspect of the Certificate in Entrepreneurship program is that the core faculty is composed of successful women entrepreneurs -- not "academics." All members of the faculty are senior members of New England Women Business Owners with hands-on knowledge of entrepreneurship; they are eager to share their skills and experience with others. This unique relationship offers validation and support, empowering women to fulfill their potential. The faculty is augmented by a noteworthy Advisory Board. Obviously, an important by-product of this program is the networking opportunities to which the participants are introduced.
Upon completion of the Certificate, each participant can enter the 1997 Business Plan Review, and compete for a $2,500 venture capital award for the winning business plan. This Business Plan Review will be conducted in March, 1997; the winner will be honored at a New England Women Business Owners dinner meeting. However, every woman who has completed the Certificate program can gain substantial feedback about her business plan from this panel of experts, and is encouraged to participate.
Always facing overcrowded schedules with multiple obligations, how can the busy woman business owner -- or aspiring entrepreneur -- acquire the basic tools of her trade? The Certificate in Entrepreneurship is a model of one very practical response to these urgent needs.__________
1 Research undertaken by the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO), a non-profit research, leadership development, and entrepreneurial training center affiliated with the National Association of Women Business Owners.
For more than 80 years, Pine Manor College has been educating women for productive personal and professional pursuits through its academic degree programs and its newly formed Certificate Program. Pine Manor College offers degrees on the associate, bachelor and masters level, as well as credit and non-credit certificates through day, evening and weekend schedules.
Telephone: (617) 731-7176 -- FAX: (617) 731-7199
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Revised: September 5, 1996 TAF
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