Heidelberg to honor 4 local women entrepreneurs

Press release provided by Heidelberg University

TIFFIN – For the sixth year, Heidelberg University’s School of Business, Computer Science and Information Technology will honor four local women entrepreneurs for their contributions to their businesses and the community.

This year’s winners will be honored at a breakfast and award presentation ceremony, titled Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs, on Thursday, April 5.

The recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is Karen Klepper, a 1991 Heidelberg graduate who has served on a number of local boards and non-profits, including the Mercy Hospital Foundation, the Tiffin-Seneca United Way, the NOAH Foundation and PatchWorks House. Klepper is currently organizing a community collaborative non-profit, called ReClaim It, a resale shop whose proceeds will be used to improve the lives of local children and strengthen the systems upon which they depend.

Kelli Dariano, the owner of Threads, will receive the Established Entrepreneur Award. Dariano opened Threads 19 years ago after working in sales and management in Chicago and Columbus. In its nearly two decades in operation, Threads has experienced 300 percent growth as it continues to bring the latest fashion trends in clothing and accessories to Tiffin. In 2009, Dariano, a John Carroll University graduate, also launched Club Thread, a loyalty club of customers that has raised more than $40,000 for charity.

Heidelberg will present the New Entrepreneur Award to Zoe Dolch, owner of Washington Street Outfitters in the Laird Arcade. Dolch, a Tiffin native, Dolch received her advanced cosmetology license from Sentinel Career and Technology Center and her bachelor’s degree from Kent State in fashion merchandising. After returning to Tiffin, Dolch realized her dream of opening a business that offers a distinct product assortment, including men’s and women’s clothing, music, home goods and unique gifts and accessories.

This year’s recipient of the Young Entrepreneur Award is 16-year-old Columbian High School student Maya Clouse-Henry. In addition to holding down part-time jobs at Behm and Henry Law Offices and Simply Susan’s, Clouse-Henry also operates her own T-shirt design business and her own photography business, MCH Photos. She also has been assisting Klepper in her efforts to get ReClaim It up and running.

“Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs” is held annually in conjunction with Heidelberg’s spring Patricia Adams Lecture Series (PALS). This semester’s keynote speaker – publisher, educator and philanthropist Monica Lozano – will participate in the awards program. Attendance is by invitation-only.

SBA programs support women business owners

SBAOctober is National Women’s Small Business Month, and the U.S. Small Business Administration is highlighting the programs they offer in support of women in business. Reports by the National Association of Women’s Business Owners state that women-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector of the economy, with 9.9 million in the United States currently employing over 8 million workers and contributing over 1.4 trillion dollars in sales to the U.S. economy. Impressive facts and figures aside, the SBA is still determined to encourage women entrepreneurs through its “three C’s”- Capital, Contracts, and Counseling.

Through capital, SBA’s lending partners provide loans to small businesses that may not qualify for loans elsewhere. Women tend to start with less capital than men because research shows women finance through personal savings and credit cards, while men often opt for loans. Businesses with more capital tend to have higher sales and employ more people, and the SBA offers a Lender Match Tool in addition to a small loan program to help women start their business in the best position possible.

SBA trains entrepreneurs how complete contacts with the federal government. The Federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services, and SBA’s goal is that 5 percent of contacts are with women-owned small businesses. Events targeting both the federal and private procurement matches the two.

Maybe the most useful tool, the counseling through SBA has helped women increase their self-sufficiency and their confidence, with 47% receiving training that assisted them to open their business. The SBA has 68 district offices and resource partners in communities across the country, among them the Women’s Business Centers. DreamBuilder introduces participants to all areas of business ownership through a carefully crafted and engaging curriculum, featured in English and Spanish. At the conclusion of the program, women leave with a business plan to start their own business or develop an existing one.

Learn about these and other women-owned business programs and resources here.