Texas State hosted a collection of seminars on Oct. 19 to celebrate the 2017 Women Entrepreneurship Week. The event aimed to connect, motivate and advise business owners across San Marcos.
The seminar included a keynote by Greater San Marcos Partnership President Andriana Cruz that addressed women entrepreneurship in San Marcos, resources for business owners, financial resources, legal considerations and a workshop for lean-launch startup businesses.
Jana Minifie, management professor, helped organize the event and moderated several panels.
“Entrepreneurship here at Texas State is really blooming,” Minifie said. “San Marcos has so much to offer. Right now we’re in this time of growth, not only in Austin and San Antonio, but right here in San Marcos. How exciting is it to be a part of that? It’s thrilling.”
The American Express OPEN’s 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report used U.S. Census Bureau data to compile business trends that have occurred since the 2009 recession. In the report, Texas is ranked second for the most women-owned firms. Texas also houses four of the top 10 U.S. metro areas for women-owned businesses based on economic clout: San Antonio (2nd), Dallas (3rd) Austin (5th) and Houston (10).
The women entrepreneurs in the San Marcos panel included Carla Risk of ColorMix Graphics & Printing, Pamela Steger of Steger’s Chiffonade, and Maxine Schaffer of Floral Studio. The three women discussed what helps make a business successful and gave individualized advice.
Pamela Steger, Texas State alumna, began Steger’s Chiffonade off the advice of a friend and learned by trial and error how to run a business.
Over the course of the first few years, she was able to learn what it means to own and operate a business by relying on her relationships with community members.
“I did everything on my own and I didn’t know a lot of things,” Steger said. “I started asking my friends that had business backgrounds if they could help me in the beginning with marketing and accounting. At the same time, however, I was looking over their shoulder and learning so that I could begin to do it all myself.”
Maxine Schaffer advocated that continued education has allowed her to stay ahead of the game. Her knowledge and experience have given her a strong word-of-mouth reputation.
“Customer service is my number-one priority,” Schaffer said. “When you walk into my shop, you will learn about flowers.”
Following the women entrepreneurs in San Marcos panel, Michael Pena of Wells Fargo and Dana Rygwelski of Mass Challenge spoke in regards to financial resources for entrepreneurs in San Marcos.
Alexis Stokes, an associate professor in the department of finance, gave legal considerations for entrepreneurs in her own panel.
A lean launch startup workshop hosted by Mike Breck of Mike Breck Consulting concluded the day’s seminars. The workshop advised how to successfully begin a business and avoid common pitfalls.
According to Amanda Mouchette, an intern at the city of San Marcos’ Main Street Program, 52 of the 253 businesses located in the downtown San Marcos district are owned by women. Compared to the Texas average of only 20 percent, downtown San Marcos is steady with the trend. 1,152 of the total 3,544 businesses in the city of San Marcos are owned by women, making the city’s business sector 33 percent women-owned.