On Wednesday night, in front of a sold out crowd of over five hundred guests, the Women’s Small Business Accelerator (WSBA) celebrated three years of helping women grow their business and dream big. Founded in 2012 by Mary McCarthy of Your Management Team, Inc. and Caroline Worley of Worley Law, LLC, the WSBA provides hand-on help, office space, advice and more to women-owned businesses.
Guests heard from a few of the businesses that have benefited from the help of the WSBA, and their stories of growth are inspirational.
Amanda Sage of Gong Gong Communications (a marketing and creative services firm) shared her business has grown from working with independent contractors to one employee in 2012 to five employees now, with plans to hire three more. With all of the new hires, Gong Gong Communications has grown out of the office space offered by the WSBA. Sage recently moved her company to a new office space in Westerville and has plans to open her first satellite office in Charleston, SC soon.
For a couple of years, Sharon DeLay volunteered as the Executive Director for the WSBA in trade for office space. After helping other women with their businesses, she realized she was not applying the principles and business tips to her own business. Once she did, she was able to hire her first employee, growing her career and HR management company BoldlyGO substantially. BoldlyGo recently moved into a new office space, has seen 500% growth in their career sector, 300% growth in HR and recruiting, and has hired more help.
Elena Ford, Vice President, Global Dealer and Consumer Experience of Ford Motor Company, and the great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford, inspired guests by sharing how Ford is working to build a customized and universal consumer experience. This was Ford’s first visit to Columbus and she shared she was honored to have been asked to speak to a room full of women working hard on their businesses, and to those who support them.
Ford was invited to speak by Rhett Ricart of Ricart Automotive Group, who has supported the WSBA from the beginning. The event also served as a fundraiser for the WSBA, and their goal of $7,500 was reached in the first twenty minutes of the event. The amount was matched by Brady Ware & Company, an accounting services firm with a Women’s Initiative led by Betty Collins. The final amount raised was just over $12,000 which will allow the WSBA to provide scholarships to women business owners to participate in the group’s education programs, develop and launch additional programs such as Mentor Match and Business Circles, and hire an Executive Director.
Over 2014, the Women’s Small Business Accelerator hosted close to 30 programs and provided over 400 hours of assistance for more than 300 women entrepreneurs, with 90% of businesses within the accelerator hiring a minimum of one additional employee and averaging 25% growth in revenue.
Feature photo of Elena Ford and Rhett Ricart during the Women’s Small Business Accelerator’s event, Starting the Conversation. Photo by Joslyn Crowl Photography, for the WSBA. To find out more about the Women’s Small Business Accelerator and to support their mission and initiatives, visit wsbaohio.org.