Resource Spotlight: WeBos

Oct 16, 2016

Resource Spotlight: WeBos

Oct 16, 2016

This week we talk with Kara Miller, program manager at WeBos. WeBos is a program designed to provide women entrepreneurs with the resources and network they need to launch and grow their businesses.

GH: What is WeBos?

KM: Women Entrepreneurs Boston is a City of Boston program designed to provide women entrepreneurs with the resources and network they need to launch and grow their businesses. WE BOS provides these services through educational programming, one-on-one coaching, and  various networking events across the City of Boston. WeBOS unifies and supports all women entrepreneurs, including startups,  home-based businesses and the established brick-and-mortar businesses in Boston’s neighborhood commercial districts.

Though Boston has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, women entrepreneurs continue to face challenges including limited funding, challenges in scaling, and finding mentors and networks that will support them as they grow.To help bridge these challenges and promote economic equity for all Boston’s women, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the City’s program to convene and support Boston’s women entrepreneurs. We launched the program with WeBOS week, a full week of programming and events to help women build their network, get inspired, and learn new skills to scale and grow their businesses.  Since the launch of WeBOS in October 2015 we have had over 1500 women participate in our programming.

 GH: What are the issues that keep you up at night?

KM: There continues to be a massive funding disparity for Women Entrepreneurs, particularly in the VC space.  The Diana Project data released in 2014 found that only 3 percent of venture capital dollars go to women led startups. There is no quick fix for this problem, but we are working with our partners to raise awareness of the issue and increase the opportunities women have to pitch and showcase their businesses.  This spring we partnered with Capital W for their second annual Women’s Venture Summit, which brought together entrepreneurs and investors  for a day of speakers, pitching, workshops and relationship-building.

GH: How can startups and founders best leverage the resources you offer?

KM: Enterpreneurs can contact WE BOS through our website or follow our twitter handle @WE_BOS to learn about upcoming events, or to set up a one-on-one meeting to discuss their business.  They can also subscribe to our newsletter and I can be reached directly at Kara.miller@boston.gov or 617-635-0252.

GH: What are you learning from your members?

KM: We rely on the WeBOS community to help us keep a pulse on the challenges women entrepreneurs are facing.  Since we are still in startup phase ourselves, we are regularly developing programs to meet the needs we are hearing from constituents.  This June we held a strategic pricing workshop after hearing from several women entrepreneurs that they were having difficulty setting the prices for their service based businesses.

GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?

KM: So many people and organizations have volunteered countless hours to help us build the WE BOS program and launch our first WE BOS week. We have an incredibly strong women entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Boston and our work would not be possible without these dedicated individuals.   When we launched WeBOS last year with WeBOS week, all of these organizations joined us to help make the week a success.  For the past three years we have also worked closely with our Babson’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial leadership.  Each year they provide WE BOS with 5 tuition free seats in their WIN lab, in addition to partnering with WeBOS on programming.

 

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?

KM: I often hear from entrepreneurs that they are having trouble finding mentors and advisors.   Our ecosystem is full of fantastic mentors, but if you aren’t in a formal accelerator program it can be challenging to get connected to them.  We are working to find more formal ways to connect women entrepreneurs with potential mentors.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

KM: WeBOS week was the best thing that happened this past year.  The idea came together very quickly and we are lucky that so many partners jumped on board to pull the week together.  Launching our program with WeBOS week not only brought out 1,000 women to attend events but it brought national exposure to the amazing women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have here in Boston.

GH: What does the future hold for WeBos?

KM: We are continuing to expand and grow WeBOS and are developing our programming for the year ahead.  We are currently planning our 2nd Annual WE BOS week, that will be held from Oct 17-21st. Join us for a full well of programming and events! The calendar for the week is at www.we-bos.com.

Learn More about WeBos at we-bos.com

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