By Ricardo Garcia
Orlando is an entrepreneur’s dream city
According to an article from Inc, there are 126 million female entrepreneurs starting or running a new business in 67 countries. Also 224 million women hold leadership positions worldwide, so clearly no two female entrepreneurs are alike, though on the whole they’re reshaping the small business workforce dramatically.
Orlando is on the rise and a top location for entrepreneurs. The region has a long history of entrepreneurial activity and is home to unique resources such as the National Entrepreneur Center (one of only two such centers in the nation), the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program (ranked as one of the top incubators in the nation) and Rollins College Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship that help keep this community among top locations for innovative companies and entrepreneurs. In addition, there are co-working spaces were startups can find flexible workspace options and access to civic, business, and educational organizations.
Aspiring women entrepreneurs get ready
Just this year another resource became available, weVENTURE established its Orlando location due the exponential growth in entrepreneurship especially women entrepreneurs. weVENTURE is a non-profit organization dedicated to catering to aspiring entrepreneur women by providing customized business coaching, business education, mentoring and purposeful networking programs. Programs like weVenture are vital for the progress and growth of a community. weVenture was established eight years ago, formally as The Women’s Business Center at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, FL. There is a satellite office in Rockledge, FL and the Orlando office serves the counties in Central Florida.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Diana Lawrie, program manager for weVENTURE Orlando, to learn more about the benefits of weVENTURE for entrepreneurs in Orlando. Diana , from Panama but raised in Pennsylvania, is currently completing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rollins College. She has been involved with weVENTURE since March 2015 and is very excited of having the opportunity to work with so many inspiring business women. Here is a transcript from our interview:
Havoc Media Group Interviews Diana Lawrie,
weVENTURE Orlando Program Manager
HMG: What is the purpose of weVENTURE?
Lawrie: We amplify women entrepreneurs in the Central Florida area to grow and scale businesses.
HMG: How long have you been with weVENTURE?
Lawrie: I joined the team in March as a contractor and I came on board full time a couple weeks ago.
HMG: Oh Congratulations!
Lawrie: (giggles) Thank you!
HMG: How would you describe your overall role in weVenture?
Lawrie: OK Hmm, let me gather my thoughts. (laughs) There is a lot of energy surrounding weVENTURE and my overall goal is to support that energy and that excitement and help channel it to a product that can be used. My role is that I’m the program manager and I help facilitate orientation and workshops and really get a feel for the community to know what entrepreneur women need and as well as what they want and provide that to them in a structure that really works and reaches their goals. So I help facilitate that process and support it.
HMG: Now I had this question come up before, is weVenture open to men or is it just exclusive to women?
Lawrie: Yes weVENTURE is open to men, we are a non-profit organization and we are open to all business across all industries. We do verbalize that we work with women in tech to leverage more technology in their business aspect like being able to have more tech literacy such as encoding an application. This is something we definitely focus on but we are open to all business. Men or women. We do have clients that are men.
HMG: What do you hope for the future of weVenture
Lawrie: Here at weVENTURE we have 3 offices, Melbourne , a satellite office in Rockledge, and our office in Orlando. We are pretty much a start up organization but our goal is to really expand across central Florida to provide the needs to each individual ecosystems. Right now the Orlando office serves all of central Florida so I am hopeful for expansion.
HMG: What would be your advise to future entrepreneurs interested in weVENTURE?
Lawrie: My overall advise to future entrepreneurs who have heard of weVENTURE or are curious about us is to come to out to an orientation. We have them once a month. Come in and see if this is something you want to be part of and get involved in your own success. That is a big concept here in weVENTURE. The tools are here and if you bring in the energy and you’re hungry for it we can help you grow together in your entrepreneurial journey. My advise is to take that first step, we will welcome you with open arms.
For more information about weVENTURE please visit www.weventure.org