The 2021 virtual Women’s Business Conference is not only geared to women but to anyone thinking about starting a business someday or growing an existing one, said Katherine Roth, executive director of the Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center.

“We’re here to support business owners but also foster that culture of entrepreneurship so that people are getting information when they’re in any of those stages,” she said.

The free Women’s Business Conference runs March 8-12, with at least two virtual sessions offered daily. People can attend whatever sessions interest them.

“There will be morning and afternoon sessions each day,” Roth said. “We’ll try to record sessions but you need to register to be able to access that.”

The event has been held for several years in the Reiland Fine Arts Center at the University of Jamestown. But holding it virtually this year also presents opportunities, Roth said.

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“With the virtual setting it does provide greater accessibility for the smaller business community and just in general helping us to broaden our reach throughout the region,” she said. “Certainly, the virtual aspect does provide us (opportunity) to reach greater audiences.’’

Almost 80 people have already registered for the event, she said.

Roth encourages the public to attend the workshops.

“We’re looking for the unique customer meaning that individual who wants to endeavor in starting their own business to that business that is currently sustaining and/or scaling (growing) in the region,” she said.

Workshop topics include market research, search engine optimization, wellness, financing programs available in North Dakota, developing your brand, social media and more.

Roth said the event’s major sponsors are Otter Tail Power Co., Wells Fargo Foundation, the North Dakota Women’s Business Center and Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center.

“Every year, we’ve had just phenomenal support from the community,” she said. “.. We see this great support year after year and we’re engaging different support systems, too, which I think is really important and it also expresses the community’s response and interest in supporting the small business community.”

Here is a summary of the workshops offered. For more information or to register for any of the free workshops, visit http://bit.ly/3bHoclJ.

Monday, March 8

10 a.m. workshop: “Your DAMN Plan to Meet Your Customers’ Wants and Needs at a Profit,” with Kim Nagle, speaker, author and business coach. In this session, leave with market research tools and steps you can take every day to make “determined-decisions,” which are decisions that get results because they are based on market data, your numbers (financials) and the facts.

2 p.m. workshop: “Search Engine Optimization Simplified,” with Nicole Mattson. What does “SEO” really mean? The basics of search engine optimization for small business owners will be discussed. Why does your search engine ranking matter for your business? Learn three things you can do on your own to improve your search results right away.

Tuesday, March 9

10 a.m. workshop: “Burnout Prevention During Times of Change,” with Kelsey Joy. In this interactive session, Joy wants to discuss participants’ experience with workplace burnout. Learn the main reasons why people leave their job, how to identify signs of burnout, burnout prevention strategies and how to embrace your own imperfect story and stop feeling like a failure.

3:30 p.m. workshop: “Discussion on ND Development Fund, Innovate ND and LIFT programs,” with Carla Valentine, Jessica Nygaard and Hannah Lange. Valentine is a program manager for the North Dakota Department of Commerce and manages Innovate ND, a voucher and grant program available to entrepreneurs in North Dakota, and the LIFT program, loan fund providing financing for commercialization of intellectual property. Lange evaluates and recommends investment decisions for the North Dakota Development Fund and manages relationships with new and existing companies looking for investment. Nygaard manages and oversees the North Dakota Development Fund debt financing and loan portfolio.

Wednesday, March 10

10 a.m. workshop: “3 Secrets to Posting on Social Media,” with Chelly Ontis. Learn a simple plan to follow that helps you post in a way that brings more sales or followers. Bring your Facebook questions. There will be a Q&A at the end. Ontis helps entrepreneurs grow their income by using simple marketing techniques.

Noon workshop: “The Library, COVID Help at Your Fingertips,” with Austin Mack. The North Dakota Women's Business Center has developed a series of training videos to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Mack, the NDWBC program manager, will demonstrate how the Library works and what you can do to get involved.

2 p.m. workshop: “Building Your Brand on LinkedIn,” with Monica Guzman. This webinar provides the skills needed for developing your presence on LinkedIn in order to gain visibility, build strong professional relationships and promote your business. Receive tips for creating a powerful LinkedIn profile, engaging with new/existing connections and creating content to promote brand awareness.

Thursday, March 11

9 a.m. workshop: “Is Your Company Ready to Be a Government Contractor?” with Cathy Lindquist. Review why a company would want to sell a government agency, what government requirements, ways to prepare and how to sell.

10:15 a.m. workshop: “Fireside Chat with Chris Armbrust,” founder of Dakota Fiber Mill. Armbrust will discuss starting Dakota Fiber Mill, the only full-service fiber processing mill in North Dakota. Recently, Armbrust and Teresa Perleberg have brought their businesses together and have formed Shepherd Industries, LLC. They purchased the Nome School in Barnes County and are renovating it to house their current businesses, with plans of a retail store, classrooms, fiber animals on site, bed and breakfast rooms, in-house chef and Event Center.

2 p.m. workshop: “The Highs and Lows of Starting a Business,” with Charissa Rubey. Candid conversation on how starting and owning a business is sometimes amazing, sometimes awful and always worth it. Rubey and her husband, started Dakota Micro Inc. in 2002, a business that manufactures the AgCam and EnduraCam camera lines.

Friday, March 12

10 a.m. workshop: “Bring PR into Your Business,” with Katherine Pendergast. Pendergast, also known as Kat Socks, is a Bismarck children's author who has been featured in local, regional and national publications. She is the author of “Pickles the Dog” books and co-author of children’s grieving books.

2 p.m. workshop: “Communicating with Power,” with Monica Guzman. Participants will learn about the four major communication styles and identify the style that is most natural for them. Guzman is an international executive coach and motivational speaker with over 12 years of experience in the corporate, financial, and nonprofit sectors.