A prominent leader in the women’s business community says, while Indiana’s climate for women in entrepreneurship is "great and getting better," there is still work to be done. RepuCare Chief Executive Officer Billie Dragoo says women must lead that charge through efforts including mentoring programs and promoting themselves when executive positions become available. Dragoo took part in a special INsiders panel focusing on women in entrepreneurship on Inside INdiana Business Television.
Dragoo joined Sticksnleaves Vice President of Corporate Development and and Operations and The Startup Ladies founder Kristen Cooper and Launch Terre Haute Executive Director Shelley Klingerman.
Klingerman says the Wabash Valley incubator works with the region’s vast higher education resources including Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Indiana State University to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. She says, as a woman forming the incubator, she felt she had to have "more conversations" and make a stronger case to prove to partners that she was prepared for the challenge.
Cooper says, with more women succeeding in business, there is an "enormous opportunity" to serve as advisers for the next generation. She says the goal of The Startup Ladies is to "identify, educate and increase investment for a diverse group of women who want to start and scale a business."
During the panel, the three agreed that access to capital remains the biggest challenge for female entrepreneurs. They encouraged successful women with disposable income and extra time to reach out to organizations like Startup Ladies and the National Association of Women Business Owners.