Greetings and a warm welcome to my follow young, female entrepreneurs!
I wanted to quickly introduce myself to those of you who I have not met in person or in a YFE meeting. I thought this would be an excellent time to review the why, what, how, when, where, and who behind this operation as it begins to evolve.
My name is Jennifer Donogh and I am the Director of Young Female Entrepreneurs. My line I’ve told people of what YFE is for almost two years now is that YFE is a support group and incubator for entrepreneurial women in their 20s and 30s. That isn’t entirely true now, or even true for the last year for that matter.
Along with Young Female Entrepreneurs, I am also an owner of Ovaleye. We are a family owned, women majority owned web hosting company that serves small businesses across the United States. This is where the story of YFE begins.
Young Female Entrepreneurs once upon a time began as Young, Female & Entrepreneurial by my good friend Jenny Dibble. She started a Meetup group out of her home complete with tea and comfy couches. I went to two meetups and fell madly in love with Jenny. Jenny at the time owned an online marketing agency that had a full staff, she was pregnant and looking to simplify. I took over the meetup group in early 2010. Jenny described the Meetup as a support group and incubator, which it was.
Being the web host that I am I switched up the name and moved it off Meetup, which is when YoungFemaleEntrepreneurs.com was born in March 0f 2010. Rather than hosting the meetings in my home I organized them in a boardroom at a local coworking space. We would have different women come each time and some amazing speakers were featured. At the beginning of 2011 we moved those meetings online as my company began to offer web conferencing.
The online meetings have been a definite support group. You get a chance to meet other women who think like you do and who are the same age as you. YFE online meetings foster peer to peer mentorship and friendships.
YFE isn’t just a support group though, and it’s not really an incubator. Interested in starting a business, or in the process of getting your big idea off the ground, this is definitely an audience that is excited to hear about what you are going through. Need help along the way, someone to celebrate with, or get frustrated with? YFE is game for that. However, this site isn’t going to teach you how to do it all. Need some recommendations for where to go for help? That we can do!
There has been an enormous amount of attention being given to the question of why women aren’t starting businesses, why we aren’t building businesses as big as our male counterparts, why we aren’t building businesses in science or technology, and so on. YFE is a resource for entrepreneurial women in their 20s and 30s, but most of all its a place where we can put into context what it is that we are trying to do and where we want to go with it.
When I was in middle school the girls in our grade were invited to attend a science fair just for girls. It was a hands on experience where you got to meet women who were applying science in their careers. We were able to see what these women actually did on a day to day basis with their knowledge. It was an “if I enjoy this, and I do this, this is what it will look like” type of an experience. It gave us a mental picture of what it was that we wanted for our future.
YFE is a lot like that science fair. Let’s fill the site with stories of you. Why are you building the business, what is your bigger vision for it, who are you, and when did you decide to start on this path?
Why share your story? Not only will it help someone who is on the fence about getting something started and show the world what young, entrepreneurial women are doing, but it will also help all of us who are in the trenches with you right now. It will help with dealing with failure, lack of patience, and at times when you feel stuck help you move forward. We all have something to share with one another, but also something to share with women who are at a different life stage and of course, men.
There is a time and a place for the debate on why something is lacking and how we can ‘fix it,’ but there is also something to be said about focusing on what is actually taking place in the present. Let’s stop focusing on what we aren’t doing and start looking at what we are doing.
YFE will continue to evolve over the next few months, but in the meantime, I invite you all to become a contributing member of the YFE community! To join the site as a contributing member you are welcome to submit posts for the blog on your story, sharing your expertise, or giving advice based on where you have come from. This option has always been available to you, but I am now streamlining the process. Rather than having to email me to submit a story, you are now able to simply login to the site and prepare your piece. I will have contribution guidelines prepared later this evening to clarify questions and make contributing to the community easier for you.
Along with contributing blog posts, you can also recommend an event. Whether it’s an event you are hosting or one you are attending, if you would like other young, female entrepreneurs to be present at the event add it for publishing consideration.
As I grow Ovaleye, and mature as a woman I am so thankful to be able to connect with my peers online where they might not be as easily accessible in person. Thank you all for taking the time to read this, for being part of the YFE community, and for your patience as the site goes through a bit of an awkward, growth spurt phase!
Cheers to you,
PS. Please feel free to contact me directly with feedback or questions at (206) 408-1910 or by email using jenn at youngfemaleentrepreneurs.com.