She Leads: An Event to Elevate the Ideas of Local Women Entrepreneurs

Are you a business owner (or aspiring owner) with a big idea?

A leader who wants to take your business in a new direction?

Did COVID give you opportunities or hurdles, and you’re not sure what to do next?

Do you have a big business challenge you can’t solve alone?

Welcome to the She Leads event!

Our Women’s Business Alliance program is partnering with the Women’s Leadership Fund and the Initiative Foundation to support the ideas and needs of women entrepreneurs in Minnesota.

This first-of-its-kind event in our area pairs women entrepreneurs with a small group of local experts to give instant feedback for your business.

You walk away with ideas, encouragement, and new perspectives about how to solve a business problem or take your business to the next level.

She Leads is similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” without the investors and without the snark! No sales pitching, no investor pitching.

She Leads is a non-competitive, no-pressure event. Present your idea or pitch to a group of supportive people who will ask questions and give you immediate feedback. It’s free thanks to our generous sponsors.

The registration deadline for entrepreneurs wishing to present is Friday, Jan. 28. 

When and Where

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022
Arrowwood Lodge
6967 Lake Forest Rd, Baxter MN 56425

1:00pm – 3:00pm: Entrepreneur presentations (closed to the public) and access to the Entrepreneur Expo room (open to everyone) where you can learn about the wealth of local resources and services for entrepreneurs!

3:00pm – 5:30pm: All are invited to the keynote speaker on marketing for small businesses! Also enjoy a happy hour with cash bar, networking, and access to the Entrepreneur Expo!

Present Your Business Ideas at She Leads

Why should I present my idea or challenge at She Leads?

  • Get thoughtful feedback to a business idea (new product, new offering, market expansion).
  • Attend a pre-event virtual session for tips on presenting effectively.
  • Refine your business presentation or elevator speech.
  • Get clarity on moving on after COVID.
  • Grab a spark of support to turn your plan into reality.
  • Connect with the wealth of local resources for women entrepreneurs: Legal, lending, coaching, marketing, and more.
  • Be entered into a drawing to win a one-year scholarship to a SOAR Success Circle (professionally facilitated peer leadership group led by the Women’s Business Alliance)

How should I prepare?

  • Complete the registration form (She Leads is free for presenters, thanks to our sponsors!)
  • Think about a specific question or challenge you want to present. The more specific your question, the better feedback you will get!
  • Attend the pre-event virtual session for presentation tips (date/time TBD)
  • Prepare your 6 minute presentation. Do not go over 6 minutes.
  • Come with an open mind and heart as panelists ask questions and give feedback after your presentation (5-10 minutes)

Keynote Open to the Public: Learn how to Build a Brand Worth Following!

We’re thrilled to announce our keynote speaker, Dawn Zimmerman! This presentation is open to the public. It’s perfect for any business owner who needs insight, ideas and tactical tips for marketing their brand.

Keynote: How to Build a Brand Worth Following
How can you build a brand that engages a following and sells itself? Gain inspiration and practical strategies to take your business to the next level – whether you’re just starting out or looking to go national. The pandemic does not need to slow you down; it may just be what you need to unleash new plans for growth and opportunity.

About the Speaker: Dawn Zimmerman, Chief Marketing Aficionado
A belief that everyone has a story worth telling led Dawn Zimmerman to initially pursue journalism as a career before taking her passion to building brands.  An award-winning journalist and natural storyteller, Dawn started her own marketing a communications company at the age 26 and became recognized for her ability to develop and implement strategies that drive organizations forward. Most recently as Chief Marketing Officer at Marco, a leading technology company that spans 12 states, she brought together a team to accelerate growth through a lead generation engine and take the brand national. Today, as a consultant and coach, she continues to come alongside organizations of all sizes to help uncover meaningful ways to unleash their brands and create a lasting impact – inside and outside the organization. When she’s not doing all things marketing, Dawn enjoys spending time in the great outdoors (no matter the weather) with her husband and kids, finding new adventures and hearing the latest chapter being written in someone’s story — over a good cup of coffee.


About the Women’s Leadership Fund

The growing ranks of women leaders in Central Minnesota’s rural communities are missing essential opportunities to strengthen their leadership skills and make deeper connections with supportive peers. The Women’s Leadership Fund is a local, volunteer-led, non-profit effort that accelerates the number, effectiveness, and impact of women in leadership roles in Central Minnesota. It is a partner fund of the Initiative Foundation, which oversees and manages the financial contributions to the Women’s Leadership Fund; as well as ensures compliance with legal and professional standards. For more information, go to http://womensleadershipfund.org.

About the Initiative Foundation

Celebrating its 35-year anniversary in 2021, the Initiative Foundation exists to empower people throughout Central Minnesota to build a thriving economy, vibrant communities and a lasting culture of generosity by offering business loans, technical assistance, nonprofit grants, donor services and leadership training. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has invested more than $112 million-plus in targeted grants and loans in its effort to support and diversify Central Minnesota’s economy. To learn more, go to https://www.ifound.org/.

About the Women’s Business Alliance

The Women’s Business Alliance (WBA) is a program of the Entrepreneur Fund, and certified Women’s Business Center of the SBA, that provides specialized advising, training, networking and access to capital for women entrepreneurs across 17 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The WBA is dedicated to supporting women at every stage of their small business journey, as well as providing opportunities for professional growth. For more information, visit https://www.entrepreneurfund.org/what-we-do/womens-business-alliance/.