Empowered PhXX collaborative releases results of women business owners’ survey

Melissa Kovacs (left) and Karen Mildenhall (right) during the panel discussion. (Submitted Photo)

More than 100 business owners and leaders of business organizations attended the recent release event and celebration for A New Vision for Phoenix Entrepreneurship, a comprehensive survey targeting today’s Arizona women business owners.

Empowered PhXX, in partnership with the National Bank of Arizona, received 300 responses to the online survey combined with town hall meetings and in-depth personal interviews to produce the report, according to a press release.

“Statistics show that Arizona is under-developing the fastest growing population of entrepreneurs in the country: women,” Kristin Slice, one of the key organizers of the Empowered PhXX collaborative, said in a prepared statement.

“We know that an additional $105.2 billion and 91,000 jobs could be added to the local economy if women-owned businesses grew at the same rate as businesses owned by men.”

A New Vision for Phoenix Entrepreneurship is being used to create a long-term, comprehensive regional strategy for economic development to effectively support women-owned firms. The report focuses on four major recommendations.

The first is the shift to a more inclusive approach in economic development and the second is how to incorporate measures and celebrations of diversity as part of a holistic representation of entrepreneurship.

The third is strengthening all partners’ ability to address effective business-building strategies for diverse businesses, and directly market to those populations.

The last recommendation in the report was a focus on financial management, investor mindset, and value-building, as well as the capital resources available to diverse populations.

The report release event included a presentation by Annette Zinky, Chief Operations Officer of TheraSpecs, on “The Importance of Ecosystem Building.” Her presentation focused on the importance of adding diversity and innovation to improve businesses, a release states.

The event also included a panel discussion with Moderator Stephanie Sims of Finance-Ability; Karen Mildenhall of Elevate; Nancy Jurik, PhD, survey author, Arizona State University; Susan Halverson Fonseca, MS, survey author and owner of Elemental Initiatives; Odeen Jon Domingo of the Co+Hoots Foundation; Christine Bailey of Chandler Innovations; and Melissa Kovacs, PhD, survey author and owner of FirstEval.

“The full report lists suggested action steps that any business owner or organizational leader can implement,” Ms. Slice said. “Everyone left the event with ideas of several steps that they can take immediately.”

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