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Registries are strong for Women’s Business Summit

Katherine Roth, executive director of the Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center, talks about the Women’s Business Summit on March 13 at the University of Jamestown. Tom LaVenture / The Sun

The Women’s Business Summit in March aims to be a networking and information sharing experience, according to organizers.

Fifteen resource partners will attend with information on all aspects of business including startups, expansions, marketing, data security, financing renovation and equipment to increase production, said Katherine Roth, executive director of the host Jamestown Regional Entrepreneur Center at the University of Jamestown.

“This event is aimed at providing attendees with timely and relevant training and to help them connect with regional and statewide business development resources,” Roth said. “Through leveraging information, resources and networks the event can help attendees take the leap of faith to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.”

Women who own businesses often also maintain traditional roles in the home, Roth said. The summit gathering allows these experienced business owners to share what has worked and what has not, she said.

“Providing a space for that parity is important,” Roth said. “An instrumental aspect of this is to share best practices and share insights and wisdom.”

The summit will include essential business knowledge from operations, finance, working within a tax structure, marketing and building networks, she said. It also includes speakers to help business owners shift focus from working in the business to working on the business, she said.

Erin Bemis, a speaker for Google’s Get Your Business Online program, will provide an overview of the digital presence and using Google Business technology to expand into online market potential along with cybersecurity, she said.

The luncheon speaker, Summer Jacobs, owns a construction firm in Bismarck, and a marketing consulting firm, Studio North. She will talk about visibility and creating a greater market share, marketing and positioning a business online, Roth said.

“Summer’s specialty is branding which I feel is so important,” Roth said. “She has a lot of energy, expertise and insights and her information is timely, relevant and needed.”

Mary Jo Van Horn, Bismarck, founder of Eliminating STRESS With The Power Of Thought, will talk about maintaining a work-life balance. Other speakers include Courtney Van Dyke, a commercial loan officer with Bank Forward, who will discuss small business financing and tax structures.

Staff of Innovate North Dakota will be present to speak with inventors who want to commercialize a concept or seek funding for the patent and prototyping process, she said. Other organizations with staff or volunteers present include Jamestown SCORE, North Dakota Women's Business Center, North Dakota Women’s Network, U.S. Small Business Administration, the North Dakota Small Business Development Center and North Dakota Compass.

Women-owned businesses are increasing in North Dakota, Roth said. A 2012 National Women’s Business Council survey reported 20,316 women-owned businesses in North Dakota, generated $3.6 billion in receipts, she said. This was a 33.3 percent increase from 5,080 businesses in 2007, she said.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant for the summit possible was in part to address a projected decline in aggregate population in the nine South Central North Dakota counties of Region VI, Roth said. Adding one job might mean bringing an entire family to a community, she said.

“This signals a dire urgency of further or added rural investment,” Roth said. “The USDA mission directly addresses this type of projected population outcome in rural america with its rural development investment goal.”