Recap of 2020 Women’s Entrepreneurship Week

Lessons from hosting 30+ events for 1,500+ attendees.

The nation’s largest Women’s Entrepreneurship Week ended September 25th. We were pleased to fulfill our mission of entrepreneurship for all by accelerating connections and knowledge.

Most importantly, the event shined a light on the incredible organizations committed to growing a more inclusive entrepreneurial community. Attendees from across the region had the opportunity to engage with experts, organizations and other founders committed to changing the data. And they did!

Over 30 events, 60 speakers, 10 organizations and 1,500 attendees came together for one week dedicated to building an entrepreneurial community that makes room for more. 

We are uploading videos and highlights from the week as we speak on our YouTube channel, so make sure to subscribe to view the replays. Through this busy week, we learned some important lessons you can use to increase access and energy for your ecosystem and events.

Lessons from Women’s Entrepreneurship Week

Virtual creates access. While we know there’s power in gathering, we also learned that virtual is an option that creates accessibility for our specific audience that made it easier for some to engage. We reached people outside of Fargo –  from small towns in North Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Washington, D.C., women logged on to access the expertise.

Spend money where it matters. Skip the swag. When it became clear that a traditional Launch Party was not a feasible or safe option, we stepped back and considered how we could double down on our efforts to support women-owned businesses. Thanks to a generous donation from The Burgum Foundation, we were able to open tabs at five women-owned businesses across Fargo-Moorhead and elevate local artists on our playlist.

Sharing the playbook can make taking the leap easier. We had experts from across the United States share their insights on how to do the practical aspects of building a business – from navigating a cofounder relationship to preparing for a negotiation, having access to asking specific questions helps to demystify how some of this is done.

Confidence comes from seeing others who look like you building and scaling. It’s hard to be what you can’t see. No amount of pep talks or inspirational speakers can replace what it means to have role models that look like you and are willing to share their stories. We heard from founders across the state talk about how they built their businesses, lessons learned and gave us a daily dose of inspiration.

Do not wait for permission to start.
― Melissa Kjolsing, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at The Nice Center at NDSU

We Bet on Women

2020 has been a year that’s challenged each of us in different ways – we’ve seen businesses close, startups pivot, the work at home double; we don’t underestimate the emotional toll that takes on everyone. But, our bet is on women – we know they will continue to persevere and lead in their families, communities and companies.

This work doesn’t happen without the dedication of our Organizing Committee and our partners who share our belief that we’re leaving so many problems unsolved if we don’t get more women to the table.

Thanks to Catalyst Medical Center, Eide Bailly, Emerging Digital Academy, Emerging Prairie, FounderHER, ND Department of Commerce, NDWBC, SHARPhub, She Overcomes, Step by Step Accounting, The Nice Center at NDSU, and West Fargo Public Library. 

Posted on October 1st, 2020 by Kodee Furst in News and Stories