Business expo will fo­cus on women

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­cBiz on Twitter

A unique expo high­light­ing women en­trepreneurs and fe­male vet­er­ans is sched­uled for Satur­day, Oct. 7, at Phoenixville Area Mid­dle School.

The 2017 Women En­tre­pre­neur & Women Veteran Expo will give women from dif­fer­ent business ar­eas the op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with each other to ed­u­cate, share in­for­ma­tion and in­spire other women to be­come business own­ers, ac­cord­ing to or­ga­nizer Dolores Win­ston, founder and CEO of Here to Ap­parel. The on­line shop spe­cial­izes in sports at­tire and sou­venirs that pro­mote pos­i­tive think­ing, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site.

“We’re bring­ing women en­trepreneurs and women vet­er­ans to­gether to spend the day con­nect­ing with each other and sup­port­ing each other,” Win­ston said. “This is about shar­ing the knowl­edge to help an­other woman.”

Win­ston said she had or­ga­nized an en­tre­pre­neur expo in 2011. But this year’s event is dif­fer­ent be­cause it fo­cuses on

women en­trepreneurs and women vet­er­ans.

The expo will in­clude panel dis­cus­sions, the op­por­tu­nity to visit with ven­dors pro­mot­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices, the chance to net­work with po­ten­tial new cus­tomers and en­ter­tain­ment. At the end of the day, the group will name a woman en­tre­pre­neur of the year fromthe Phoenixville area. That award will be pre­sented by state Rep. War­ren Kampf, R-157th Dist.

“My dream is to bring women en­trepreneurs to­gether. On this day mo­ti­vated women will share, ed­u­cate, en­cour­age, in­spire, and re­ju­ve­nate us to bring out the best in our­selves,” Win­ston said on the web­site for the event.

A high­light of the event, ac­cord­ing to Win­ston, will be the pre­sen­ta­tion of two youth en­trepreneurs: Jenna Swymelar, a fifth grade stu­dent at Re­nais­sance Academy Char­ter School in Phoenixville and Jes­sica Mey­ers, a fifth grade stu­dent at Schuylkill Ele­men­tary School in Phoenixville.

Win­ston said the young en­trepreneurs will present their busi­nesses to the group. Swymelar has a business called Sweet Dream Pil­lows by Jenna, while Mey­ers’ business is bal­loon cre­ations.

Key­note speaker for the event will be Dr. Betty Mose­ley Brown, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor, Cen­ter for Women Vet­er­ans at the Depart­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and 19th pres­i­dent of the Women Marines As­so­ci­a­tion.

“I met her at an event in In­di­ana, and when she heard what we were do­ing in bring­ing women en­trepreneurs and women vet­er­ans to­gether, she wanted to be part of it,” Win­ston added.

An­other speaker will be Ja­son Raia, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Free­doms Foun­da­tion of Val­ley Forge, a na­tional ed­u­ca­tional non-profit that en­cour­ages “en­gaged, re­spon­si­ble ci­ti­zen­ship,” ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site. Win­ston said Raia will speak about the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s youth out­reach.

Two panel dis­cus­sions will be held dur­ing the day. The first will fea­ture six Phoenixville-area busi­ness­women, who will share sto­ries about start­ing their own busi­nesses.

The sec­ond panel dis­cus­sion will fo­cus on em­pow­er­ment. Win­ston said the group of five women, “come from dif­fer­ent ar­eas of ex­pe­ri­ences and we’ll share what we’re do­ing and how we’re em­pow­er­ing women,” she said.

In ad­di­tion to Kampf’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the Woman En­tre­pre­neur of the Year award, ci­ta­tions will be pre­sented to the win­ner by state Sen. An­drew Din­ni­man, D-19th Dist., and U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist.

The event will be held from 2-7 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Phoenixville Area Mid­dle School, 1000 Pur­ple Pride Park­way in Phoenixville. Win­ston said more than 20 ven­dors have signed up to at­tend will at­tend the event. The 2017 Women En­tre­pre­neur & Women Veteran Expo is free, and while reg­is­tra­tion is not re­quired, peo­ple plan­ning to at­tend can reg­is­ter at https://we­expo.eventbrite.com.

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