Wisconsin ranks 46th in the nation for women-owned businesses, and while our state has made leaps and bounds, growing 187 percent since the most recent recession, our growth is actually slower than most other states. Woman entrepreneurs face a number of challenges including significantly less investor interest and opportunity, lack of support from other woman business owners, and balancing children and home life with work.

On the other hand, women-owned businesses are diversifying, meaning there is no longer a stereotypical woman-owned business. Women are branching out and using their talents and knowhow to create jobs for themselves, opportunities for others and fill niches wherever they see a need for their time and talent.

Northeast Wisconsin is home to a number of women-owned businesses and nonprofits from unique retail shops to bakeries. Unfortunately, as any business owner knows, marketing, commercial or office space, childcare, and other costs can be daunting for new business owners. The startup process can be confusing to navigate and expensive, making long-term success difficult for a lot of women.

One grass roots collective in the Fox Valley is looking to change this stumbling point for women entrepreneurs. Fox Cities Women in Business, while still in its infancy, aims to offer a collaboration for women business owners. The website is currently under construction but will include a directory of woman-owned businesses in the Fox Valley and information for women seeking to bolster or begin a new business. Affordable marketing, branding, graphic design, IT and PC repair and more will be available to all small business owners. Flex office, meeting and classroom space is also available for use in Downtown Neenah, where business owners will have access to computers, printers, Internet and more, including classes on business startup and management, as well as networking and promotional events. This business incubator concept is also run by three women business owners who understand the struggles and confusion involved in entrepreneurialism. Watch the Fox Cities WIB Facebook page and this website for more information and articles!