Since 2004, the Women’s Business Alliance has been helping Richmond Hill’s female business leaders and entrepreneurs to succeed, get more exposure for their businesses and network effectively.
“We really want to help women learn how to network, to bring different women business owners together and just to help a lot of businesswomen stay in Richmond Hill, buy locally, and enhance their business,” said current WBA president, Tina Torres.
The WBA holds monthly meetings and quarterly networking events. At monthly meetings, speakers talk about topics focused on women.
According to Torres, the experience of owning or managing a business is different for women than for men.
“Women network differently than men do,” she said. “And just to know that there are other women out there striving for the same thing – and they’re out there – so that they can come and network with us … women tend to be friends as well as business partners, not just business partners, so all of us are friends, we help each other out, we recommend each others’ businesses.”
WBA Secretary Naomi Havens is an Usborne Books representative who has been with the group from its early days.
“Being a woman in business is not always an easy thing and the WBA allows women to get together and help promote their business, helps us to talk about things that may be more specific to women in business than what a man might deal with,” Havens said. “It’s given me opportunities to network and … has helped me to develop friendships as well.”
WBA members are made up of women who own their own business, help manage a business, or work from home.
To help increase visibility for those members without a storefront, the WBA holds a yearly Richmond Hill Business Expo.
“We’ve been doing it for about four years now,” said Torres. “Last year it was held at the Richmond Hill City Center and it was a big success … there’s a lot more business in Richmond Hill than you can see – a lot of people that don’t have business fronts that work from home – so we want to make sure we have visibility for everybody.”
Dena Lopez, owner of the Pink Closet, joined the WBA this past year.
“I think it’s more of a support group,” she explained. “These are women that can definitely understand and sympathize with owning your own business. It’s given me information and outlets that I wasn’t privy to before.”
On Thursday, July 28, the WBA will hold a social and informational event from 6-8:30 p.m. at Midnight Star Pottery in the Station Xchange. Anyone interested in joining or learning more about the WBA is invited to attend.
To learn more about the WBA, visit their website: www.wbarichmondhill.roundtablelive.org.