What’s missing from this great round up of creative and enterprising Borderstan entrepreneurs? Women. One group is helping to change the face of local business in 2013. Enter Her Corner, a new DC-based company helping to bring women business owners together through personal, face-to-face relationships to build, grow and support one another’s businesses.
Her Corner builds hyper-local and personal networks for women entrepreneurs who are committed to growing their businesses. Founded by Frederique Campagne Irwin, a local entrepreneur with an extensive background in management consulting and several startups of her own, Her Corner was originally begun two years ago as a resource for Irwin who sought greater opportunities for networking and peer support in her own career.
It quickly took on a life of its own, launching as a full scale enterprise in August and receiving more than 400 applications from prospective members in its first two weeks.
“It’s an opportunity to grow your business by meeting other women like you who are near you,” Frederique says.
Based around neighborhoods, groups have been formed in Georgetown, Cleveland Park, Arlington and Chevy Chase, among other places. For Borderstan women, Her Corner is launching a Dupont-centered group in January. There are also ample online opportunities and a bi-monthly speaker series held in partnership with American University’s Kogod School of Business.
Many of us are familiar with the numerous career networking events going on all over town – even ones geared specifically toward women. Her Corner is unique in that it is a network of and by women entrepreneurs, meeting in each other’s homes and dedicated to helping other women succeed in starting and growing women-owned businesses.
That intimate setting leads to a natural conversation – rather than a forced, aggressive, in-your-face exchange of business cards – about each member’s business, how group members can help, who they can introduce each other to, and how each member can become more successful. Irwin says much of Her Corner’s style comes from the differences between the way men and women network.
In her experience, women thrive in an environment that is naturally focused on mentoring and advising each other — without sharp elbows. These personal conversations lead to deeper connections and help build the social capital that many first-time women entrepreneurs lack. Frederique notes, “As women, we don’t build businesses for the same reasons or in the same way as men — we’re no less ambitious but just doing it differently.”
She is focused on growth for Her Corner as much as she is focused on growing each of her member’s businesses. She hopes to expand networking groups beyond DC to other cities in the near future. So, for all you women out there who run your own business, make your new year’s resolution worthwhile and get involved with a network of like-minded women. Here are three upcoming Her Corner events to check out:
- January 3 at 8 pm: Dupont Circle information session. Her Corner’s founders will host a conference call for prospective members to share more details about the benefits and requirements of joining. Click here for more information.
- January 4 10 am to noon: Her Corner open discussion and coffee. On the first Friday of every month, Frederique hosts an open coffee for current and prospective members and for any budding entrepreneurs who want to learn more about starting a new business. Click here for details.
- February 7: Speaker series at AU’s Kogod School featuring Hulya Aksu, founder of Modern DC Business Magazine. Find out more here about the speaker series.