What’s better than one great organization? Three, of course—collaborating to bring a much-needed new program to U.S. women-owned businesses during this time of crisis.
Starting in July, Verizon, CircleAround, a for-profit subsidiary of the Girl Scouts, and NAWBO will launch a free mentoring program called “Women in Business” aimed at providing female- and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with a network of women business leaders to coach them on navigating the COVID-19 reality.
The initiative comes after a Verizon Business Survey by Morning Consult found that 49 percent of women-owned small businesses would find it helpful to be able to access a network of like-minded female business leaders on their road to recovery.
“It’s my belief that women need to help each other,” Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, shared with USA Today. “We hope this program will provide a safe environment for listening, learning, helping and mentoring each other.”
The partnership will kick off with the first in a series of streamed panels hosted by the Verizon Business CEO. The initial panel will feature leading female executives across various industries, including media, sports, finance, technology and the public sector.
It will also provide:
- Mentorship and coaching and practical advice for women-owned small businesses, coordinated by NAWBO and led by female entrepreneurs and Verizon executives. According to the Verizon Business survey, 49 percent of female-owned small businesses indicated they would find the ability to join an empowering network of like-minded female business leaders helpful in navigating the business impact of COVID-19.
- A series of sponsored profiles on CircleAround, where leading women across small business, the public sector and Verizon employees will be highlighted.
- A content series directed by CircleAround, amplifying the mentorship program facilitated through NAWBO to give female-owned businesses across the country the same practical advice that the businesses being mentored are receiving.
- Exclusive resources and access to Verizon’s Yahoo! Small Business BusinessMaker and Verizon Business suite of small business products and services.
Through the program, the Girl Scouts-affiliated group also hopes to mentor the women through the prism of Girl Scouts values. “This is really taking it from one end of the spectrum to the next,” says Chris Butler, COO of CircleAround. “The work we do with Verizon is actually helping the next gen of women leaders.”
According to the Verizon Business Survey, women are less optimistic that they will be able to recover from losses caused by COVID-19. Over 30 percent say they are not confident they will be able to recover, versus 21 percent of their male counterparts.
Lynda Bishop, national program director of the NAWBO Institute, is coordinating the partnership on behalf of NAWBO. NAWBO’s members have voiced concerns in recent weeks about their own ability to recover from the crisis. While all sectors are impacted in some way, many are in industries heavily impacted by the pandemic such as food, retail and hospitality. Accessing capital, managing employees and paying commercial rent are just a few of the stressors these women are facing.
“This is a program that not only will provide free resources to women re-imagining their businesses through COVID-19, but it also shines a spotlight on NAWBO and NAWBO’s members to help women all over the country get to know our amazing women business owners and to find connection, support and encouragement toward their own dreams,” says Lynda.
In July, the One Girl Scout Media platform (launches this month) will feature 50 women in a series that shares women’s stories every day all month long on the topic of “What Freedom (or Liberty) Means to Me as a Woman Business Owner.” If you would like to be featured as one of the 50 women, contact Lynda Bishop at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 25th. Also, please reach out to Lynda if you would like more information or if you are interested in getting involved as a program speaker or article contributor.