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City hosts largest ever Women Entrepreneurs Boston Week

This year, the City of Boston is hosting its largest ever Women Entrepreneurs Boston Week, with over 40 different events across nine days, from Oct. 4-11, including panels, networking events and workshops aimed at helping Boston women achieve their entrepreneurial goals. 

This year’s theme is “build, overcome and strengthen,”  according to WE BOS’s website. The week will feature a variety of female speakers — including successful CEOs, business owners, women’s studies professors and influential authors — from whom attendees can expect to learn everything from promoting their brand to effectively managing stress.

Taylor Connolly, communications officer for Mayor Martin Walsh’s Office of Economic Development, said she believes WE BOS is immensely beneficial for women looking to create or expand their business.

“I think the week is a wonderful opportunity for women entrepreneurs and women who own small businesses in Boston to create valuable connections within our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Connelly said “We can learn about a myriad of funding and smart growth opportunities and then it is also a great way to share their experience with others and learn from other women in their situation.”

Connolly said she highly recommends attendees visit the Open House and Resource Fair at 12 p.m., Oct. 9 at City Hall, as the event is free and open to the general public.

“[The open house] has all the business resources available, so not just large city departments, and other partners that we work with regularly,” Conolloy said. “It’s completely free and we’re here to help however we can.”

Another event being held this week is Women’s Network Breakfast, which will take place on Oct. 10 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront.

Tania Del Rio, executive director of the City of Boston Office for Women’s Advancement will moderate a conversation with Sheila Lirio Marcelo, CEO and founder of Care.com, a website that connects families with caregivers, according to the WE BOS website. 

Del Rio wrote in an email that attendees will listen to Marcelo share about her experience as a woman entrepreneur while also learning learning essential leadership skills.

“[Marcelo will speak on] investing in women-led businesses, about how businesses can be both mission-based and profitable, and leadership,” Del Rio wrote. “We will also be speaking about Sheila’s incredible personal story, from a woman struggling to balance the demands placed on her to a leader helping millions of women like her find solutions.”

Most events require participants to register before they can attend. Further information and registration links for each event can be found on WE BOS’s website.

Ryan Kelly, 37, of West Roxbury, said she likes the fact that there’s a week dedicated to the issue of women’s entrepreneurial endeavors. 

“I think it’s wonderful, especially that the mayor and the city are supporting opportunities for women to network,” Kelly said. 

Rachel Wood, 75, of Jamaica Plain said that she knew from experience that women face many challenges when starting a business.

“My daughter tried to start her own business,” Wood said. “She does work independently and is a mental health counselor, but just the whole set-up makes it very difficult, so I support entrepreneurship. I’m very in favor of it. That’s where the strength of this country is, is being creative and making things.”

Rollin Dial Crinttendon, 46, of Brighton, said he also felt the overall week is a good idea because women aren’t as represented in business.

“I think that I’ve been involved with some start-ups around here and the ones I’ve always been involved with are all started by men,” Crinttendon said. “… I’m not saying that every single start-up should be driven by women this day forward, but it seems like it’s a bit off kilter given the market.”

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