When Jenny Dibble returned to St. Louis after five years on the West Coast, she was struck by two features of her hometown’s entrepreneurial culture: one, it was way bigger and more dynamic than she expected; and two, there were a lot of men.
“At every event I attended, I noticed a strange absence of women,” Dibble said.
She decided to investigate and found that she was not the only St. Louis businesswoman craving a community. From that, the idea for Women Entrepreneurs of St. Louis (WEST) was born.
Along with founding members Mariquita Barbieri and Sheila Burkett, Dibble joined host Don Marsh to discuss the launch of St. Louis’ newest networking group for women.
WEST is prioritizing marketing and reaching out to interested members, but they hope to spend 2013 addressing the unique obstacles women face in the business world.
“I think a lot of it is juggling,” Burkett, Founding Partner and CFO of Spry Digital, said. “There’s family. I have a 12 year old. I have a couple of other endeavors going on. Juggling all of that, and having access to capital and [believing] that I can grow this beyond myself.”
Today’s callers and Tweeters seemed to agree that problems of capital and insufficient mentorship discourage women from growing businesses capable of supporting more than a few employees.
We’d like to keep the discussion going. Please share what you see as the challenges for women entrepreneurs in the comments section below.
With assistance from Ariana Tobin
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