Women’s Business Bistro

Last night we were fortunate enough to be invited by Nola Fennessy to the Women’s Business Bistro Launch Party. I had no idea what to expect when we accepted the invitation, but I strive to support local businesses as much as possible, and especially businesses that are woman owned.

I didn’t know much about Women’s Business Bistro going into this event, and I didn’t know anyone at the event outside of Nola. Walking into the beautiful Think Tank office space was honestly a stretch for me, someone who does not like to show up to a party not knowing a soul. However, Candace Hawkins, the founder of Women’s Business Bistro, greeted me warmly and immediately. After a short reception we were able to see the videos she created, with the collaboration of Deb Strout, which were interviews of about 15 small business owners. At the end of the evening Candace spoke about why she started this organization. Hawkins recognizes the struggles faced by female business owners and so she created these videos as a reference to anyone out there who might be starting their own business. Women sometimes are balancing work, childcare, and house management all while trying to get their businesses started, and that struggle appeared to be one thread that ran through all of the videos. Another was the fact that to start a business, you really need to have a strong support system. Some found this in their spouses, and many found this in the guidance of a business coach.

After watching those inspiring videos last night, I was reminded of the video of Katherine Switzer, the first woman to enter the Boston Marathon. Women have had an uphill battle when trying to do many things: voting, starting a business, and even running. She had to register with only her initials because women were not allowed to enter at that time. Half-way through the race she was attacked by a man who didn’t want “women in his race.” This action only inspired her to keep going, knowing that she had to finish this race so that women would be allowed to run in the future.

Watch Kathrine Switzer on PBS. See more from Makers: Women Who Make America.

Sometimes there needs to be one woman who initiates this forward movement. Like Switzer, Candace Hawkins has initiated this platform where women encourage each other. Personally, I love the idea of a “bank of resources” where I can go and see videos about other women doing business. I can’t wait until they launch the website so that all of these amazing videos can be contained in one spot (I will share that as soon as it is up!).

Since the focus of Women’s Business Bistro is on videos, I will leave you with one more inspiring video of women who fought for the right to compete (do you recognize Maine’s own Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first winner of the Women’s Olympic Marathon, in this video?).

There is power in video. There is power in words.

I left feeling so inspired by all the amazing female business owners. I am excited to see where they go with this project.

~Brandie, Client Relations Coordinator

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