Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Investing in Women

May 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Aspire to Inspire

When I was just a toddler my mother and her friends started a women’s shelter in Oklahoma,  saving and improving countless lives and creating huge change in local government. I always wanted to do something that would help women, but didn’t feel a shelter was really my cup of tea. I grew up in a family with a history of strong independent women who were business owners. From generations back my grandmothers and aunts were entrepreneurs, often becoming the breadwinners of their families. I knew the advantages of growing up with a single mother who was an entrepreneur, and wanted more women to feel like they could take control of their finances. I have been inspired by the countless single mothers that I have met who struggled to work a job and take care of their children. So many careers do not allow women much flexibility in nurturing a family. Starting their own business puts women in control of their time and gives more opportunity for them to take time off for milestones and illnesses in their children’s lives.

My youth was filled with entrepreneurial endeavors. Like many young girls I started out babysitting, tried some housekeeping which definitely was not my calling, and eventually started designing tote bags and purses. I started my first real business in 2006 and learned how to operate a large retail and wholesale clothing business replete with importing, accounting and sales. Most of what I learned was through trial and error. I love being my own boss and being in control of my finances, but wanted to do more than just make money.

Early in my working life I realized; that I could accomplish more by collaborating with other business owners especially women and it was at this point that my experience and need to give back came together.  I began Investing In Women (IIW) in the spring of 2008 with a few pages of business resources and a blog celebrating women. As the name suggests, my primary goal is to empower and encourage women to be financially independent. Having read about the positive effect of micro grants in developing countries, I knew this would work in the USA. Through the site I have set up a micro-grant program for women in the USA. The first micro grant was awarded in 2009 and I am currently working on awarding the second.  I decided that grants would have to be more than the usual $30 given in other countries to make a difference to a business in the US, and finally decided that $500 would work because it can buy advertising, products and or a website. Of course new business owners need more than just money to become a success, so offering free business resources would be needed.

My goal is to award 100 grants in the next 2 years and I would like to extend the program to add a micro-scholarship for women studying business and a grant for Eco-conscious businesses.

Information about the grant program can be found at this link

Leah Oviedo is a successful business owner in Encinitas, California; she has a background in website design & PR and owned a retail business for 4 years.  Coming from a family of successful women business owners she wanted to give back and support other women business owners.

Leah created the Investing In Women website in February 2009 and now provides a rich resource of business tools and advice for other small business owners. Since its inception visitors to the site have increased every month, becoming more and more popular. IIW now has a monthly newsletter going to over 200 business owners (women and men).



14 Responses to “Investing in Women”
  1. Leah Oviedo says:

    Laine, Thank you for this opportunity to share my dream! I am forwarding this to everyone I know.

  2. Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  3. CNA Training says:

    Keep up the good work, I like your writing.

  4. Laine says:

    Thank you – so glad you enjoyed it. Hope you will visit often

  5. Laine says:

    thank you – hope you will come back often. I’m working on a lot of other articles and content from other ladies

  6. Laine says:

    I’ve got lots of ladies lined up to tell us their inspirational stories so.. come back soon

  7. Leah Oviedo says:

    Thanks to everyone for reading the post about IIW. I hope you’ll share this post with your network.

  8. Heidi Walker says:

    Leah glad to see that you are getting around. The word will keep spreading for you work is AWESOME!

  9. Laine says:

    Thanks Heidi and we are enjoying your story too!

  10. Laine says:

    Leah, Empowering each other to succeed is how it should be! Thanks for being who you are and for sharing yourself and your story.

  11. Leah Oviedo says:

    Thank you Laine. We have just reached $220 towards our $500 grant. I am very excited that word of mouth is spreading about the grant program.

  12. Laine says:

    Its such a great cause Leah! Along the lines of… if you give a man a fish he can feed his family for a day, if you teach him to fish he can feed his family for a lifetime. Maybe ~ Making a home a business feeds a families heart and soul.

    In this economy we need to return to a village mentality where businesses are closely held and customers matter. Jeannine Clontz just blogged about that – A Customer Service Revival.

    Laine D.

  13. Laine says:

    Maybe its time to promote this article again to bring in more funds! Great that you offer to list women owned businesses on your site and use the monies to fund the scholarship program.

  14. Leah Oviedo says:

    Great idea! I will share it again. We have raised $230 for the second grant. I really am excited that people are donating. I’d really like to get more business sponsors on the site as well.

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