The number of women owned firms reaches a new milestone this year, with more than nine million women- operated businesses throughout the country. That’s almost a six percent increase in just one year; and now a new program, to be held here at the Westport Library, is looking to ever further grow that trend.
“I think we have a great opportunity here. I think we are determined to help startups be more successful in Connecticut," said Janis Collins, co-owner of the Refinery.
Meet Janis Collins: the co-founder of a new project called The Refinery. It offers a new type of accelerator workshops, specifically for companies whose leaderships feature women. The project hopes to transform startups into scaleable busineses.
Accelerator programs are held all across the county. They’re workshops tailored for entrepreneurs, taking the leading business owners in a particular area and introducing them to entrepreneurs in their early stages.
But, Collins says The Refinery’s accelerator is unique. That's largely due to the fact that it takes advantage of intellectual capital and financial capital within Fairfield County, while also utilizing the resources wthin a community. The Refinery most noticeably does that by partnering with the Westport Library.
"I think libraries across the country and certainly the state of Connecticut are looking to transform themselves. So, we are looking to use it more as a model that can be duplicated in other libraries," said Collins.
The Refinery’s next accelerator will start on September 10th and last for three months. During that time, there will be interactive content sessions, panel discussions and mentor meetings - ultimately producing a go-forward plan for growth and funding.
The application process has already begun and just ten companies will be selected. But if you don’t participate in this round of worshops, here’s one tip to keep in your back pocket:
"I think what people don't always think through is how will they make money. And, how will their operating expenses look in the next year-and-a-half. You can't sustain it if you don't make money," Collins said.
Applications for this accelerator will be accepted until June 15. You can learn more by visiting refineryct.com