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Celebrate female business owners

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (Nov. 19) is a time to celebrate female founders and acknowledge the challenges they face in today’s economy.

As a local resident and entrepreneur, I’m hoping to see our civic and elected leaders make it a point to recognize the Champaign-area women who run local businesses, create local jobs and build up our local economy. That recognition was missing last month during Women Small Business Month.

This day should be a natural opportunity for celebration, acknowledgements from our civic leaders and calls from our elected officials to “shop local women-owned businesses.” There hasn’t been enough of that in recent months. And with women-owned businesses closing at much higher rates than those owned by men, that’s exactly what we need.

As our small-business community struggles to pull itself out from under the weight of the pandemic, we need to come together — business owners, customers, lawmakers — to build a groundswell of support for women running local businesses.

I’ve taken the first step by creating a Facebook group called “Empowered Women of Champaign/Urbana,” a place to lift, amplify and encourage our community of women and support the businesses they operate. With nearly 1,500 members, our online community has become a source of strength and optimism and a pivotal resource helping us all navigate uncharted waters and an uncertain future.

This is our chance to shout our support from the rooftops. Please consider joining the group, engaging in dialogue and learning more about the support and resources our women-owned businesses need — not just to survive, but to thrive.

Together, we can all be part of the solution. A stronger Champaign-Urbana is all we have to lose.




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