Women Business Owners Part of Social Entrepreneurship Trend

Women executives support social entrepreneurshipToday’s high-powered women executives make it a point to weave social entrepreneurship into their businesses.

The Women Presidents’ Organization – Chicago chapter, recently announced the results of a survey of its members. Those survey results were especially interesting because on the one hand they indicated substantial growth. Eighty-five percent (85%) reported that their revenues grew over 25% in 2006. Roughly the same percent predicted their businesses would also grow in 2007, sometimes up to 70% growth.

Clearly, these are women focused on the top line and bottom line.

A group of focused, committed, growth-oriented women business leaders does not surprise me. What did surprise me just a little, was how many — 62.9% — said that social entrepreneurship was important or very important.

Keep in mind that we’re talking about substantial “small” businesses. This is a group of business owners who run multimillion dollar enterprises. The minimum size requirement to be a member is $2 million in annual revenues ($1 million for service businesses).

According to Laurel Delaney, Chicago-area facilitator of the group and CEO of GlobeTrade, just being a member of the group by definition involves giving back to others. She notes, “The Women Presidents’ Organization Chicago members measure their business performance based on sales, profitability and other areas considered key such as making the world a better place to live in which has a lot to do with social entrepreneurship. By being a member of the nonprofit Women Presidents’ Organization, it puts each of us in the position of a ‘call to action’ on social entrepreneurship. After all, we are working together to improve business conditions for women entrepreneurs and promote the acceptance and advancement of women entrepreneurs in all industries. Isn’t that what social entrepreneurship is all about?”

These women contribute and give back in a variety of ways. For instance, Angelika P. Coghlan, Managing Partner of Catwalk Consulting, an online conference service, says, “With regard to social entrepreneurship, I am involved with several not-for-profit organizations and help out regarding technology in any way that I can. I provide my expertise at no cost and provide whatever technology (within reason) that I can provide at no cost.”

Lois Anthonisen, President of Anthonisen Financial Corporation, was recently honored as a winner of the 2007 Enterprising Women of the Year Award, which recognizes winners as leaders who have mentored and given back and have had a profound impact on their community. She noted in an email, “My social entrepreneurship involves serving on the Foundation Boards of Governors State University and Prairie State University. I am also an active Altrusan and a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. International service includes working with a group of financial services professionals teaching the Chinese how to deliver financial products and services and delivering eyeglasses to the poor in Poland, through Volunteers for Optometric Services to Humanity.”

It’s intriguing how the definition of success today is not just about achieving a certain revenue and earnings level. It is also about viewing your business in a larger context of using your success to help others.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

9 Reactions
  1. It’s wonderful to hear that not only can women be successful in small business but that they also give back. Angelika and Lois are an inspiration.

  2. The Women Presidents Organization is a goldmine of opportunity for women who want to grow their businesses beyond the million-dollar level. There are many examples of women whose businesses wouldn’t be the successes they are today if they hadn’t taken advantage of what the WPO local chapters have to offer.

  3. Of course every business matters, regardless of the revenue levels, Mikester.

    But 2 mil isn’t a ransom. It’s the direct result of someone’s hard work.

    And in America everyone who works hard has the opportunity to achieve that level and more.

    When you achieve that level, Mikester, I hope you will lend a helping hand to others coming along behind you.

  4. How can you say this: “the definition of success today is not just about achieving a certain revenue and earnings level”

    After having just pointed out there’s a $2mil ransom to get in?

    Yes, elitism IS alive and well in America…… Tip to all businesses, YOU MATTER TOO no matter how much money your business makes.

  5. Anita … Thank you for reaching out, mentioning our survey results for the Women Presidents’ Organization Chicago chapter and for inspiring us continuously through all your hard work at Small Business Trends. We very much appreciate all you do to keep us on the cutting edge of trends and to help us grow our businesses.

    All the best and have a great holiday weekend.

  6. I think that it is important to give back. Whether it be to other business owners or to charitible organizations. That’s what I love about The Womens President’s Organization, it is a peer-to-peer mentoring group. It’s important to share the successess, as well as, the mistakes. If someone can learn from my experiences it makes them all worthwhile. I enjoy sharing the knowledge that I have and if it helps someone be more productive or successful it makes it even more worthwhile.

  7. Thanks, Angelika, for your attitude. That’s so important. And as you can see from Amanda’s comment, you are an inspiration to other women entrepreneurs.

  8. Anita, you are living in a dream world. That was the OLD American dream, which no longer exists. Here’s a hint: debt is NOT prosperity, and paper is NOT money. The Keynesians have sold us down the river, so quit blowing your Ayn Rand crap up people’s butts and realize, we aren’t in Kansas anymore. We are in the grip of state-sponsored corporate fascism…. and nobody who doesn’t already have $2 million dollars that isn’t willing to sell their soul to the machine, is very likely to get it any time soon. By the way, just how many wheelbarrows full of federal reserve notes DOES it take to buy a loaf of bread?

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