The Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College Announces Inaugural Women’s Business Summit on International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

Recognizing the contributions women business owners make globally and in South Carolina by strengthening our communities and initiating sustained prosperity.

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) The Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College proudly announces the first-ever Women’s Business Summit on its downtown Columbia campus, Friday, November 16, 2018, in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week and International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

"Our vision is women business owners and leaders from across the state - and the southeast - coming together in an annual summit of fellowship, learning, and growth," Dr. Kasie Whitener, co-founder of the Women’s Business Center said. “During Global Entrepreneurship Week, we have the chance to acknowledge the pivotal role women business owners play in lasting prosperity for families, communities, and nations across the globe. Here in South Carolina, we have more than 150,000 women business owners. We are raising our hands together to support women-driven business, as well as companies and organizations that value strength in diversity."

Sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation and Grow with Google, which each provided seed funding for the WBC of SC, this first-of-its-kind summit features an all-star cast of accomplished women:

Featured keynote speaker Tiffany Norwood is a global serial entrepreneur with a career spanning 30 years, seven start-ups, two IPOs and a patent. In her 20s, she raised $670 million to fund a global satellite radio start-up called WorldSpace, within a couple of years XM Radio was born, and it is now a part of Sirius XM. Ms. Norwood is considered one of the pioneers of digital broadcasting.

Elaine Pofeldt is a journalist, writer, editor, and author of The Million-Dollar One-Person Business. She founded and ran a business plan competition for FORTUNE Small Business and is a featured expert on multiple media outlets.

Martha Brown, President and CEO of La-Z-Boy Southeast, catapulted into leadership of the family-owned, award-winning company, which has a large retail and distribution footprint in the Carolinas. Ms. Brown is also a proud Columbia College alumna.

Marsha Barnes, Founder of The Finance Bar, is a sought after Certified Financial Social Worker, financial educator and commentator. She was recognized as a Female Tech leader by Digital Finance Institute and focuses on raising women's financial empowerment.

Rounding out the afternoon breakouts are hands-on, tactical sessions featuring Google's Get Your Business Online featured entrepreneur and Women’s Business Center coach Shennice Cleckley; a business plan slush fest featuring Columbia entrepreneurial community leaders; and sales expert and frequent WBC contributor Beth Renninger, past-executive of Verizon Wireless and director of the Center for Sales Success at the Darla Moore School at University of South Carolina.

“Since her founding in 1854, Columbia College has been on the cusp of foresight and innovation. Our experience working with women and student entrepreneurs since 2015 through the McNair Center for Entrepreneurism and since May within the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina, confirms the College is uniquely experienced and positioned to take on this international charge,” said Columbia College President Dr. Carol Moore.

“Women business owners in South Carolina are doers and dreamers. They are ambitious and they are clear about their purpose. They see a better future for themselves, for their families and for their communities. They are rising to their highest potential, and they are reaching around to bring others along,” said Women’s Business Center of SC Co-Founder and McNair Center Executive Director Katherine Swartz Hilton. “The Women’s Business Summit is designed for women on a growth trajectory in their business. For women who want to thrive: in their business, in their life and in their community.”

Registration is open for the Summit, ticket prices ranging from $49-149. Women's Business Center Founder's Circle "VIP Tickets" are also available, which include full conference registration, a private reception, and a small group strategy session with Tiffany Norwood. Founder's Circle tickets are $1,000, a portion of which is a charitable donation to support the important work of the Women's Business Center. Register at scwomensbizsummit.com, call 803.470.6306 (voice/text) or email wbcofsc@columbiasc.edu for additional information.

The Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College grows women-owned businesses through community, opportunity, and knowledge programs designed to add jobs, increase firm revenue, and achieve economic independence. The Center, which opened May 2, 2018 with generous seed investments from Grow with Google and the SC Department of Commerce’s Office of Innovation, is dedicated to assisting women throughout the state to grow their businesses through education, mentoring, coaching and community-building.

Columbia College prepares students personally and professionally for success through strong liberal arts and professional programs emphasizing service, social justice, and leadership development. Founded in 1854, Columbia College continues to serve as an institution for higher education with approximately 1,200 students, female and male, with undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs.

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