SCORE Small Business Blog

Leadership: How More Women Can Succeed

Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program

E&Y's Maria Pinelli is determined to help more women business owners succeed.

Let’s face it, we women entrepreneurs still don’t have access to the same types of networks our male counterparts do. Ernst & Young, the global consulting corporation, wants to help—and for the third year is presenting its Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, which gives women business owners the chance to be part of a network of the country’s best entrepreneurs and high-growth companies. The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is designed to help women business owners:

• Identify potential partners, customers, suppliers and prospective sources of private capital.
• Learn about the latest business strategies and practices tailored to high-growth companies.
• Receive one-to-one guidance and support.
• Strengthen our business skills and identify ways to grow our businesses by meeting advisors and successful entrepreneurs who can serve as role models, coaches and mentors.

According to Maria Pinelli, Americas Director, Strategic Growth Markets Leader for Ernst & Young, the company has been “a passionate supporter of entrepreneurs for almost 25 years now. However, we know that women-owned businesses do not typically reach the scale of businesses run by men. We designed the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program to deliver experienced role models and access to business-building networks that are so critical.”

I recently talked to Pinelli about women entrepreneurs and what we need to succeed.

Rieva Lesonsky: Why aren’t more women-owned businesses earning over $1 million annually?

Maria Pinelli: Women face unique challenges. They sometimes lack opportunity, access to role models and financing, and they face different personal situations than men. Through targeted support, we can help them overcome these obstacles in order to scale their companies.

In the U.S. women start businesses at nearly twice the rate of men. Babson College found that if these women entrepreneurs started with the same capital as men, they would add 6 million jobs to the economy in 5 years.

Lesonsky: Are women too often risk-averse?

Pinelli: Women are very willing to take risks. Sometimes, though, they lack the support network to back them when they step out on a limb. Through the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, we strive to provide access to networks and mentors that can fill this critical role for high-potential women entrepreneurs.

Lesonsky: Looking back at the previous winners, are there any common traits they share?

Pinelli: All of the winners are passionate, highly intelligent women who saw a need in their respective industries and took it upon themselves to fill that need. They all have the vision, confidence, creativity and tenacity to be market leaders.

Lesonsky: What resources do we entrepreneurial women need to help us succeed?

Pinelli: Women have the brains and the guts, but they need help to break through the barriers for rapid growth and entrepreneurial success. They need mentors to challenge and encourage them to think bigger and provide a voice of experience that is invaluable. They also need access to networks of potential partners, strategic alliances, customers and suppliers, as well as prospective sources of capital. The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program was designed to help do all of that.

There’s much more information about the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, including entry requirements, on the E&Y website.

Having a mentor can certainly make a difference in our success and it’s not as difficult to find a mentor as you might think. The key is to act now!

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva

// |

Discussion (4) Comment

  1. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program identifies and connects a select group of women entrepreneurs with the advisors, resources and insights they need to accelerate the growth of their businesses. The program is conducted in collaboration with the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the Committee of 200 and Babson College.
    To apply for the program, applicants must fit the following criteria:

    * Woman business owner who is the founder or founding partner of a privately held US company

    * Company must have reported at least one full fiscal year of $1 million in sales within the last 2 years

    * Venture must be less than 10 years old

    * Entrepreneur must be able to attend an orientation/preparation session at Ernst & Young’s headquarters in New York City in mid-September, and the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, November 10-14, in Palm Springs, CA.

    Business Writing

  2. DeniseVisitor

    I’m considering applying as I would like access to a broader range of potential mentors. I think that this program would be a very good start and opportunity!

  3. julieVisitor

    While honored to get another award, “Oh no not another award.

    The momentary thrill, the scant recognition from clients, and the temporary employee glow hardly constitute an ROI for the time spent on submissions and the hours at award ceremonies.

    As a E & Y finalist in the 2010 Entrepreneur Of The Year New Jersey Program, I am hoping for a different experience. I am looking forward to being part of a network of the country’s best entrepreneurs and high-growth companies where people are actually working to change the statistics.

    I am hoping that by receiving this award I get the one-to-one guidance and support needed to break through the barriers for rapid growth.

    That will make this an award worth winning and a one of a kind opportunity.

  4. RievaVisitor

    Thanks. Helping women entrepreneurs is very important to me. If there’s some topic or information you’d like me to cover, please drop me a line.


Leave a Comment

More Blog Topics