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Celebrate National Women's Business Month in the I-72 Corridor

Friday, October 12, 2018

The I-72 Corridor is home to many women-owned businesses. From local physicians to restaurant owners and healthcare companies, women are leading Illinois businesses. We invite community members to recognize their success during National Women’s Business Month.

Women-owned businesses in the I-72 Opportunity Corridor

Meet just a few of the women business owners making an impact in our region -

Alterna-Care’s President, Dr. Kathleen Sgro

Founded by nurses, Alterna-Care’s Administrator and President is a woman, as is their Chief Financial Officer and Director of Rehabilitation. As Atlerna-Care’s co-founder, Dr. Kathleen Sgro DNP, MBA, RN, has a background in medical-surgical, long term care, and oncology nursing. She has earned multiple advanced degrees from Illinois universities and uses her education and clinical experience to make both strategic and operational decisions. As founder of Alterna-Care, she is dedicated to providing holistic care to homebound patients.  She believes many patients and caregivers go without the supportive care that is available through home health services, something they provide on a daily basis.

A Touch Of Class Salon and Spa Owner, Tracie Brust

Tracie Brust started her nail career in 1985 and opened A Touch Of Class Salon and Spa in 1989. They offer a large selection of services in a clean and professional environment. With over 30 years of experience, we have quite the array of talent and skill among our stylists and nail technicians. They take pride in their display of local artists, one of a kind massage rooms, and helpful staff.

Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast “Youngest Innkeeper”, Valerie

Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast in Jacksonville is owned by couple, Gwenn and Glenn. Still, it is their daughter, and future business owner, Valerie who has received national attention. Mary White, respected author and CEO of BnBFinder, calling Valerie, “America’s Youngest Innkeeper.” This family business is an example of women business leadership being cultivated from a young age. Their inviting Bed & Breakfast is located in the heart of the historic district in a magnificently restored 120-year-old mansion just steps away from Illinois College, the Governor Duncan Mansion and Illinois School for the Deaf. Their goal is to pamper guests in luxury and to delight both business and leisure travelers.

History of women-owned businesses in the United States

Since 1972, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has risen 3,000 percent. It’s an impressive statistic, especially considering the fact that women were required to have a male co-signer in order to get a loan up until 1988.

Women have come a long way since the then. That’s why October has been designated as National Women’s Small Business Month. It’s an opportune time to recognize and celebrate the impact female entrepreneurs have on our economy.

Today women own 39 percent of small businesses in the U.S. In the last two decades, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent — a growth rate of more than two and a half times the national average.

It’s important to acknowledge this phenomenal progress while also understanding that challenges still exist for women in business. Research by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor indicates women in the U.S. are 18 percent less likely than men to have the confidence to start a business.

The absence of role models has been identified as a significant barrier to female entrepreneurship. There’s also evidence to indicate women may have a harder time accessing business financing and may face biases when trying to raise capital.

Raising awareness of women entrepreneurs is a key step in improving this situation. When women hold visible business leadership roles, other women are more likely to consider entrepreneurism as an option.

We understand the importance of encouraging women in business. Local chambers and state organizations offer a range of entrepreneurial support and resources to help with business inception and development as well as finding avenues for financing, some of which can be found here. We also encourage prospective business owners to connect with the chamber of commerce.


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I 72 Opportunity Corridor 2 South Main Street Winchester, IL  62694
Phone 217.243.8765