Women Entrepreneurs Launch New Community in Denver
The Commons on Champa launched a new program in May 2017 to connect and support women entrepreneurs in Denver. Women on the Rise is a special collaboration between The Commons, an initiative of the Downtown Denver Partnership and Traci Lounsbury, owner and co-founder of ELEMENTS to create a stronger community and support system for women entrepreneurs in Denver. More than fifty entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered at ELEMENTS, a leading company in workplace furnishings and integrated interior solutions for the first “Entrepreneur Spotlight” in the program’s 2017 speaker series. The event featured Lounsbury who spoke about the challenges of being a female entrepreneur as well as her own success in the field.
Attendees participated in the interactive program designed to reflect intuitive and bold insights to support the entrepreneurial success of women. Downtown Denver Partnership President and CEO Tami Door kicked off the program by emphasizing the drive behind The Commons, which included a need for a permanent hub for resources and community to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship in Denver. Women on the Rise, she said, is an effort to take the unique feel and success of The Commons on the road to broaden its reach to more female entrepreneurs in the region.
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Four Insights from Women on the Rise with Traci Lounsbury
TaRhonda Thomas, the Emmy Award winning anchor at 9NEWS led a discussion with Lounsbury revealing four essential tips for how women can succeed in the start-up world.
#1 “Don’t Do it Just Because It’s Trendy”
When it comes to creating your business, avoid jumping on a bandwagon of what is trending. Follow your heart, be true to who you are and be prepared for something other than what you expected. The journey will be difficult, which becomes part of the fun on the road to success.
Along the journey, it helps to distinguish between an innovator and an entrepreneur. “An entrepreneur takes innovation and makes something sustainable,” Lounsbury explains, “If it’s not sexy, it’s ok. You don’t have to create the newest technology to be an entrepreneur. Don’t limit yourself. ELEMENTS didn’t start that way.”
#2 Be Self-Aware, Not Self-Critical
Entrepreneurs tend to worry and question their capabilities in the face of uncertainty. Every entrepreneur must face these challenges, and the beginning is always harder than imagined. “You are every job function,” Lounsbury said, “and like everyone else, you have strengths and weaknesses. Learn to recognize your limitations rather than question your ability.”
#3 Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Strong Support System
You may identify with one entrepreneur who described the feeling of her safety net disappearing when she first took the leap of becoming an entrepreneur. Self-doubt can be quick to arise in business and other areas of life. Lounsbury says overcoming the fear of starting out is possible if you reach out to others who can provide perspective and share in your ideas, whether those are other like-minded entrepreneurs or experienced mentors.
Building this community and support system around you is necessary if you want to succeed, according to Lounsbury. You can find connections by getting involved in groups like Women on the Rise.
#4 Talk to Everyone About Your Passion
Face-to-face interaction can be highly productive. If you are passionate about an idea, work it into your conversations. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to connect with someone who can open a door that may lead you where you want to go. Be mindful of your personal brand and reputation, and bring your humanity to these relationships. Ask for feedback to ensure others are clear about your idea.
Support from ELEMENTS and Noble Energy made the event possible, and several women-owned companies helped to create a memorable experience: Teatulia & The Mama’hood, Copper Door Coffee Roasters, Serendipity Catering and Michelle Meunier Photography. Women on the Rise is led by The Commons’ Women’s Council, a volunteer board of women business leaders who contribute strategic and financial resources for the program.
We hope that you, like all of us, are excited about Women on the Rise. If you’re ready to boost your business, build your community and support other like-minded women entrepreneurs, we hope you’ll join us for Women on the Rise taking place monthly, continuing with Lindsey Laurain, founder of EZPZ on June 21 at Craftsy.
Registration Link: bitly.com/WOR617