Women Learn About Entrepreneurship at Rutgers Business School Symposium

May 11, 2017
Rutgers Business School in Newark held the first “Women Warriors in Business” symposium.

By Briana Vannozzi

Tyra Causey is trying to grow her small business. The owner of a South Jersey-based educational service thinks tapping into female power might be just the ticket.

“I’m getting so much out of it already. I’m learning how to create a stronger foundation, network more and become a more confident and knowledgeable business owner,” she said.

This is the first ever class of “Women Warriors in Business” — an entrepreneur and leadership symposium held at Rutgers Business School in Newark.

“If a woman wants to start her own business, if a woman wants to excel in her career, this is the place for them,” said Shy Hopkins of New Jersey Small Business Development Center.

The U.S. Census Bureau says New Jersey based women-owned firms make up nearly 32 percent of all businesses. And that translates into nearly $50 billion in receipts. But Hopkins says women entrepreneurs still face significant growth challenges.

“Women not being confident enough to go out for loans when they have a small business, not being confident enough to go out for contracts. And that’s very important, very vital to the survival of a business,” Hopkins said.

“The small business development centers have counselors that will actually help a business owner put together a business plan. Then I actually give a course on how to talk with bankers,” said Gene Spillane, economic development specialist for the New Jersey Small Business Association.

They’re connecting and counseling in a space that greatly needs it.

“One is changing the mindset, the thinking, the thought process. And two is stepping out and taking action no matter what your emotions are telling you, no matter what the ego is telling you. Just stepping out and taking the action. Three is knowing that that there is plenty of help,” said Stephanie D. Burroughs, president of StephanieSpeaking LLC.

“You have a lot of challenges and you also want to be with other business owners and learn from them and so that you can put yourself on the next level,” said Genevieve Peprah, CEO of African Language Consultants LLC.

“Definitely want to make more money — that’s the point of being in business — but I want to serve my community especially with the tutoring. I love tutoring, I love education. I’m currently in a master’s program for educational services, so I definitely want to serve my community. I want to employ people and I want to teach people what I know,” Causey said.

And they’re partnering with the American Legion to give special attention to female veteran entrepreneurs, one of the fastest growing segments of the veerant population.

“After listening to these women up here, I’m really confident I can definitely grow a successful business,” said Eva Broadfoot, president of Ultrasound for All.

Part of this is also just about creating a new network of support for these women entrepreneurs, with the hope that they’ll gain enough interest to hold multiple symposiums throughout the year.