ATHENAPowerLink® and the Power of Women in Leadership Roles
Maryland is number one in the Bloomberg News U.S. Gender-Equality Leadership Ranking, based on the number of women on corporate boards, in the state legislature, advanced degrees and salaries earned, and business ownership. Smartasset.com ranked Baltimore as the third best city for women in the tech industry, behind just Washington, D.C. and Kansas City, MO. The region is clearly thriving as a place for women to do business, but there’s more to be done.
Enter ATHENAPowerLink®, a business advisory program designed to increase the growth and profitability of women-owned businesses (WBOs). The year-long mentorship program assists and advises women entrepreneurs on important issues specific to their business.
The significance of a program dedicated to the success of WBOs is important because while Baltimore has steadily earned points for gender equality, a 2018 Kauffman Foundation survey shows that overall, female entrepreneurs are less likely than their male counterparts to make investments of more than $10,000 in their business, bring their service/product to a national market, or hire additional employees in the next year. And in the first year of business, only 52% of women reported their business as doing well, compared to 67% of men.
By comparison, a study done by ATHENA International indicates that participating businesses showed an average increase of 88% in sales, 37% in business net income, 75% in the number of part-time employees, and 36% of full-time employees upon completion of the program.
Those numbers are significant.
As the region’s only economic development organization, the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB) has long-supported programs that have advanced entrepreneurs and small-business owners. When in 2016 EAGB was asked to manage the local branch of ATHENAPowerLink®, with the support of PNC, they didn’t have to think twice.
Tamera Rush, founder of TENAX Technologies, a defense contracting company, is the most recent graduate of the ATHENAPowerLink® program. At her graduation, she said, “Where my company was before vs. where it is today is like night and day.”
TENAX was founded in 2014 as a 100% woman-owned defense contracting company, headquartered in Harford County, Maryland. It provides engineering, professional services for R&D, testing and evaluation, and execution of mission critical projects for government customers.
Rush went on to say, “I would recommend any woman who owns a business to try her hand with ATHENA,” said Rush. “They won’t be disappointed.”
Clearly, women’s views of their businesses—and their future success—change dramatically when they have access to advisory programs like ATHENAPowerLink®.
If you’re a woman-owned business interested in the program, or you’d like to be an advisor on upcoming panels, please visit http://athenapowerlinkbaltimore.org/ or contact Kate McGraw at the Economic Alliance.