RED WING, Minn., August 6, 2015 – Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) recently approved funding from its Small Enterprise Loan Fund to UnleaSHEd Inc., a Red Wing-based business which hosts an online business resource community for women entrepreneurs. In May, UnleaSHEd Inc. launched the website UnleaSHEdconfessions.com, which is intended to be a place for women entrepreneurs to tell the real stories of building a business among an anonymous network of peers.
Co-owners Megan Tsui and Tami Enfield are two women who understand first-hand the various areas an entrepreneur has to master to be successful – business plan development, multi-faceted marketing strategies, product and service development, and, most importantly, overcoming the fear of the unknown. Their solution: create a crowd-sharing platform where women entrepreneurs can help each other through similar obstacles while gaining knowledge to build or strengthen their business. This project, the UnleaSHEd Business Club, will launch in September of 2015.
“We got the idea for UnleaSHEd Business Club when I was trying to launch an online business coaching practice and struggling with the many facets of marketing – videos, podcasts, mailing list development, creating Facebook ads, and more,” said Tsui. “I thought, ‘there has to be a go-to place where I can learn about this from other entrepreneurs who have been through the same thing.’ Long story short, UnleaSHEd was born to go beyond marketing woes to allow women to speak to the full spectrum of skills necessary in the business world.” SMIF’s working capital loan helped with the creation of the website, as well as with some marketing and business costs.
UnleaSHEd Confessions and the UnleaSHEd Business Club both target the steadily growing number of female entrepreneurs and business owners. A 2015 State of Women-Owned Business report shows that there are now over 9.4 million women-owned enterprises in the U.S., accounting for 30% of all U.S. businesses. These companies generate nearly $1.5 trillion in revenue, an increase of 79% since 1997.
“SMIF realizes that women entrepreneurs are a vital part of our regional economy,” said SMIF SBA Director Marcia Haley. “We also recognize the number of hurdles launching and sustaining a successful business entails. UnleaSHEd will be a valuable tool for those small businesses just starting off, or those looking to grow.”
“We are excited to have SMIF as a funding partner as we build our business,” said Tsui. “We know that we are in the very early stages of our venture and will continue to work with SMIF as we grow and expand our products.”
UnleaSHEd, Inc. also offers business and marketing consulting to women entrepreneurs locally and online.
SMIF provides a range of finance and management assistance services to start and grow businesses. To learn more, call Marcia Haley at 507-455-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.smifoundation.org. SMIF is an equal opportunity lender. This loan was funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.