St. Louis-based network for women's startups expands to six cities | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-based network for women's startups expands to six cities

Apr 24, 2018

Brazen Global has been helping women entrepreneurs in St. Louis grow their businesses for the past four years. The group announced Tuesday it’s taking its membership organization for “growth-seeking” women business owners to six more startup cities around the country including: Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Philadelphia.


"We are a startup serving startups,” said Jennifer Ehlen, Brazen Global CEO and president. “Our journey is very similar to the very women entrepreneurs we seek to support.”


Ehlen added that they cast a broad net to find the right partners in new markets for this first expansion of the Brazen brand beyond St. Louis.


"Many women-owned businesses today are innovating in sectors and industries ripe for growth, but they simply don’t personally identify as ‘high-growth’ or ‘tech’ yet,” said Ehlen. “With Brazen’s help, we hope women entrepreneurs will realize their growth aspirations, regardless of labels or definitions they choose to wear.”


Women are starting businesses faster than any other segment of the population, according to Ehlen, and women of color are leading the trend.  A study published by American Express in 2017 found that 91.4 percent of women-owned firms in U.S. have no employee other than the owner.


With more than 11 million women-owned businesses in the country, Ehlen imagines what could happen if obstacles to growth were removed. “If each of those companies added just one employee to their team, that’s more than 11 million jobs that would be created in the U.S. economy. That’s more employment growth than in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 combined. That’s the opportunity we hope to unlock by expanding Brazen into new markets.”

Brazen offers evidence-based membership programs to anyone who identifies as female and "growth-seeking," including:

  • Growth Groups: Brazen's flagship program are peer advisory groups of seven to nine female entrepreneurs that meet monthly to present their greatest business challenges and work through solutions.
  • Power Hours: Brazen Members can schedule an appointment with a legal, accounting, marketing or IT/tech expert every month.
  • Member Events and Roundtables: These monthly events bring together sister CEOs to learn more about business growth strategies and get inspired.

"Our ultimate goal is to create a global network of women-led businesses and supporters that can connect across geographies to grow their companies," said COO and co-founder, Aimee Muirnin Dunne. "It's time to boldly grow our businesses. No apologies."


Brazen is launching its local programs with the support of acting directors in each market, including Kristin Fox in Chicago, Jasmin Brand in Dallas-Fort Worth, Olivia Omega in Denver, Monica Wheat in Detroit and Bonnie Bogle in Philadelphia. Brazen continues to operate in its founding market, St. Louis, with executive director Mindy Mazur.


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