Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Can Doling Out Tough Love Empower Female Business Owners?

February 5, 2015
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Can Doling Out Tough Love Empower Female Business Owners?
Her Corner members discuss business over meals. Her Corner/Facebook
Simply put, the founder of Her Corner is mad about gender inequality.

Gender inequality in the workforce isn’t exactly a secret in the public eye. Yet, 88 percent of female business owners still don’t make more than $100,000 in gross revenue a year. This is where Frederique Campagne Irwin’s fourth start-up, Her Corner, can help.

The networking system has the sole purpose of growing female-owned (and, more specially, female-founded) businesses.

Her Corner was established after a meeting Irwin orchestrated back in 2011, where numerous local, female business owners sat down for dinner and discussed growth strategies. Within three months, 2,000 female business owners contacted Irwin, and the start-up has since exploded across 26 states and is predicted to grow much more in the coming years.

For women that are eager to expand their businesses, Her Corner provides resources to facilitate that expansion (i.e. contacts like contract lawyers and real estate agents for business spaces). Bi-monthly meetings are held in a member’s home, which is “an environment that is intrinsically feminine,” says Irwin.

But don’t think these get togethers consist of chitchat over wine and cheese. The no-nonsense organization gets down to the business of, well, business. “I didn’t want to talk about dogs, renovations or people’s kids,” Irwin tells the Washington Post.

Irwin explains the organization’s purpose to Serious Startups: “Her Corner creates a positive environment where we encourage our members to think bigger, to collaborate to accelerate the possibilities, and to look at networking differently – rather than coming to a large event and handing out business cards, we ask you to start with your small group and start by asking, ‘tell me about yourself and how can I help you.’”

Irwin’s unique ability to both supercharge members with a pissed-off, let’s-change-this-gender-biased-dynamic, while also providing the build-relationships-first comfort to make the necessary changes is what has this startup on a path to success.

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