Annie Goni-Stewart: Entrepreneurial women need access to resources |

Annie Goni-Stewart: Entrepreneurial women need access to resources

Annie Goni-Stewart

Equal Pay Day is observed on a Tuesday in April every year, reminding us of gender pay inequities that still are very much a reality in the U.S. This observation marks the date women’s pay catches up to men’s compensation for the prior year. This year’s day was observed on April 4, meaning that on average it takes more than three months of additional work for a woman to catch up to the wages made by a man in a year.

Although it’s regrettable women make 80 cents on average to every dollar earned by men, we all can celebrate another fact about working women in America: they’re starting businesses at a higher rate than ever.

Women who don’t want to wait for their wages to reach parity are taking their futures into their own hands and turning to entrepreneurism. Women-owned firms increased by 45 percent between 2007 and 2016, a rate five times higher than the 9 percent increase among all businesses during the same period. Women now are the majority owners of 38 percent of the nation’s businesses, up from 29 percent in 2007.

Despite the encouraging growth, women face challenges in entrepreneurial endeavors. Only 3 percent of women-owned firms are considered as having “high economic impact” — meaning they generate $500,000 or more in revenues — as compared to 9 percent of all firms in the country meeting that benchmark.

With so much to do as a business owner and limited time and financial resources, what are the best ways to accomplish these tasks? eWomenNetwork, North American’s leading women’s business network and women’s business event organization, has built a network of more than 33,000 members in six countries and 118 chapters producing more than 2,000 events annually, all devoted to connecting and promoting women and their businesses. The organization’s two decades of experience with women and their businesses have yielded some valuable insights about networking.

Being a small business owner is stressful, so find and use your network to form a reliable support system that understands what you’re going through and can help you acquire the expertise you may be lacking. The people in your network can introduce you to people who can help promote your business, offer sage advice and guide you in navigating potential problems. Sandra Yancey, founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork, recommends finding mentors or femtors (an eWomenNetwork term for women mentors) who can provide:

Access — Connections to people you otherwise would never have the opportunity to know

Inspiration — Support and accountability when you may be ready to give up

Advice — Personal and professional wisdom to ensure you’re creating the life and business you desire

Feedback — Critique on your products or services and help to solve problems

Experience — Tips for overcoming challenges and difficult business decisions

eWomenNetwork’s goal is to provide resources and connections to help one million women entrepreneurs achieve $1 million in annual revenue. Reno area entrepreneurs and those who aspire to be one will have the opportunity to learn more about the keys to building a high economic impact business at the Women’s Success Summit April 21 at the Peppermill in Reno. Sandra Yancey is keynoting this event which will offer networking opportunities, a business expo and resources in an inspirational environment celebrating the brilliance of women entrepreneurs.

We’re committed to women’s success as business leaders who will support one another, lifting as we climb to reach our dreams. Ultimately, one of the best ways to fill the pay equity gap will be through the efforts of women who step up to the opportunity of business creation — and help others to do the same.

Annie Goni-Stewart is executive managing director of the eWomenNetwork Reno/Carson/Tahoe Chapter. She was recognized by eWomenNetwork as the Inspired Leader of the Year for 2016. For information about the local chapter and the Women’s Success Summit, visit The women-owned business data in this editorial can be found at