Women Trailblazers !

“A Timeline Of Women And Wealth: The First Female Millionaires, Billionaires & CEOs And The Policies That Paved The Way For Them”


If you had to write a resume for Isabel Benham (1909-2013), it would contain some notable “firsts.” In the 1930s, she was the the first woman on Wall Street to study the male-dominated railroad industry. In 1964, she became the first female partner at a Wall Street bond firm, according to the Museum of American Finance. But early in her career, she’d sign her name as “I. Hamilton Benham” to avoid discrimination.While generations of women before and after took risks to achieve wealth in their respective industries, many like Benham also had to navigate a culture of inequity to get there. Here is a brief history of women in finance, business, politics and entrepreneurship — and the policies that paved the way for them:

FIRST IN FINANCE: Victoria Woodhull may be considered the First Lady of Finance. In 1870, she and her sister Tennessee Claflin opened Woodhull, Claflin & Co., becoming the first female stockbrokers on Wall Street. They, however, never gained a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, something no woman would achieve until 1967. Woodhull would also be the first woman to run for U.S. president.

Ellen Swallow Richards was the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which made her the first woman to be accepted into a science and technology school). She graduated from there in 1873 then became its first female teacher as an instructor in sanitary chemistry. In 1876 she established the Women’s Laboratory, a facility at MIT.

Sarah Breedlove was celebrated as the country’s first female self-made millionaire, according to her New York Times obituary. The orphan was born to freed slaves; she later invented and sold homemade hair-care products to black women through the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Breedlove built a factory, a laboratory and a beauty school to train sales agents.

Lettie Pate Whitehead was appointed to the board of The Coca-Cola Company in 1934 and one of the first women to serve on the board of a major corporation. She held the position for nearly two decades. Her husband founded the first Coca-Cola bottling facilities. After his death, she took over the business and expanded her family’s wealth by founding the Whitehead Holding Company and the Whitehead Realty Company. Before her death, she established a foundation and gave to numerous charities in Virginia and Georgia.FIRST CEOs: Katharine Graham becomes president of The Washington Post, then a small family-owned newspaper. By the early ‘70s she would become CEO and the first woman to lead a major U.S. corporation. She supported investigations into the Watergate scandal which would lead to the resignation of President Nixon. By the time Graham stepped down as CEO in 1991, The Washington Post would grow into a media conglomerate with newspaper, magazine, television and cable businesses. The following decades would usher in more first-female CEOs of major companies, including Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo. Carly Fiorina would become the first woman to lead a company listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average when she became CEO and president of HP in 1999, according to the Washington Post.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963
passes, requiring that men and women receive equal pay for equal work in the same company. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifies: “It is job content, not job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal. Specifically, the EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.”

FINANCE: On December 28, 1967 Muriel Siebert became the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, the only woman among 1,365 men on the trading floor, according to the Museum of American Finance. Until then, women were only permitted on the NYSE trading floor as clerks and pages to fill shortages during World War II and the Korean War. She donated millions of dollars from her brokerage and securities underwriting business to help other women get their start in business and finance. In 1977, Siebert became the first female Superintendant of Banks for New York, overseeing all of the state’s banks, which had about $500 billion of assets under management, according to the MoAF. Not a single bank failed during her tenure.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 served as an update to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy.

The Family and Medical Leave Act. Passed in 1994, this law requires certain employers to grant up to 12 weeks of leave during a 12 month period to eligible employees who need time off from work because of a “serious health condition” that they or someone in their family is experiencing. This sometimes overlaps with Title VII requirements concerning leave for pregnancy.

FIRST IN MUSIC: Aretha Franklin is first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With a background in gospel music, The Queen of Soul was signed to recording companies like Columbia, Arista and Atlantic Records. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Franklin’s greatest triumph –and an enduring milestone in popular music – was her hit song “Respect.”

Executive Order 13157 was signed by President Clinton in 2000 to increase opportunities for women-owned small businesses. It charged the Small Business Administration to work with each federal agency to identify contracting opportunities for businesses owned by female entrepreneurs.

FIRST BILLIONAIRE: In 2000, Martha Stewart became America’s first self-made female billionaire. She first hit billionaire status in 2000 after taking her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, public a year earlier. She made her way back to the Forbes Rich List in 2005, during her infamous five-month jail term.

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was an update to The Equal Pay Act. The amendment states that “Wages can include more than just hourly or annual pay. Wages includes bonuses, company cars, expense accounts, insurance etc.”According to the EEOC: “This law overturned the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc.,(2007), which severely restricted the time period for filing complaints of employment discrimination concerning compensation.”

A HOLLYWOOD-FIRST: Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first female to win the Academy Award for Best Director for The Hurt Locker. The Iraq war film also won six academy awards that night, including best picture and best original screenplay. The independent movie beat Avatar and other major-motion productions for best film. Bigelow also became the first woman to win the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing.

GOING GLOBAL: In 2007 Christine LaGarde of France became the first woman to hold the post of Finance and Economy Minister of a G-7 country. On July 5, 2011, Lagarde would shatter another glass-ceiling when she became the eleventh Managing Director of the IMF, the first woman to take that title.

THE BIG 3 And THE BIG 4: In 2013, Mary Barra is appointed to CEO of General Motors, making her the first female to lead a Big 3 Automaker.

In February 2015, Cathy Engelbert becomes CEO of Deloitte.

The following April, KPMG names Lynne Doughtie as CEO, meaning women now lead half of the Big Four accounting firms.

CENTRAL BANK: The Senate confirms President Obama’s nomination for Janet Yellen as chairperson of the Federal Reserve — the first woman to take over the top spot in the 100-year history of the U.S. central bank, or any major central bank. Yellen is also the first Democratic nominee to run the Fed since Paul Volcker became chairman in 1979 (under Jimmy Carter).

ERA OF ENTREPRENEURS: Oprah becomes the first African-American female billionaire. The former television host turned media mogul founded OWN cable network and has a 10% stake in Weight Watchers.She is currently America’s highest-paid female celebrity, worth roughly $3 billion.

TODAY IN ASIA: Four decades ago, Yoshiko Shinohara – armed with a high school degree and secretarial experience – started a temp-staffing company in her one-bedroom Tokyo apartment. Now, at age 82, she’s become Japan’s first self-made woman billionaire. She recently retired as chairman of staffing company Temp Holdings, which had revenues of $4.5 billion last year.

TODAY IN AFRICA: Forbes counts only two female billionaires in Africa, including Folorunsho Alakija, the continent’s first self-made woman to make the list. She is the vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company that partners with Chevron and Petrobras. Her first company was a fashion label that catered to Nigeria’s elite women.


In Commemoration of Women’s History Month

Women Entrepreneurs Making An Impact: Just Look At The Numbers!

Every day a net average of over 1,000 US business are started by women. In the last decade, the number and economic strides of women-owned firms continues to steadily rise at rates rivaling the national average. As of 2016, there were approximately 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the US who generate about $1.6 trillion in revenues. These significant increases could be the result of the recession. Despite historically more challenges than others, women businesses have seen an increase of 45% in comparison to a much smaller number nine years ago.

Geographically speaking, the greatest amount of growth from women-owned firms has occurred in the South. Currently, the states with the greatest numbers in the south include: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina & Texas. Florida is currently leading the pack, up by 67%, when it comes to growth in the number of women-owned firms within the last ten years.

Women-owned firms are spread across pretty much every single sector. However, on average, trends show most businesses are lumped into the following types: Other services (nail and hair salons, home and pet care) about 22%, Health and social assistance (childcare, home health services) about 15%, Professional, Scientific, Technical Services (attorneys, architects, accountants, management consultants) about 13%, and Admin, Support, and Waste Management (janitorial, landscaping, office admin, and travel agencies) about 11%. Just a few of the sectors lagging behind in popularity include businesses focused on construction, transportation, and warehousing. While not as common for women to forerun the business mentioned, they stand head-to-head with other firms in reference to their revenues of $500,000 or more.

March commemorates Women’s History Month. Let’s continue to acknowledge the huge accomplishments of women from the past, present, and future. The statistics in this piece showcase women as the driving force to an improved economy and increased job opportunities. For those interested in recognition of their women-owned business, many organizations specialize in women entrepreneurial advocacy. One for example is, the Women Owned Business Certification in Florida (WBE). You can check out the eligibility requirements and application here. If you have any questions while completing the application process, you can send an email to As a reference, here are a few more women-centered organizations dedicated to women entrepreneurs: ASTIA, Savor The Success, and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.


By Nadia Alcide of Simply Sociable

Simply Sociable is a boutique administrative consulting firm that understands the importance of leveraging the internet and technology. Simply Sociable specializes in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs to work on their business instead of in it. Nadia Alcide is the founder and a University of Florida alumni.


A Glimpse into Gainesville’s Black History

Gainesville in general is rooted deep in rich history. As we reach the end of Black History month, its fitting to discuss the important part black entrepreneurs, artists, establishments and business owners played in enhancing the flavor of Gainesville culture. Locals established well known hotels, clubs, schools, publications and stores for the community. These businesses and people may no longer be here but the impact and recorded memories still stand strong.

The Dunbar Hotel: Pleasant Place
Prior to desegregation of the area, the Dunbar Hotel served minority patrons. It was established in 1938 by Joseph and Sophronia Dunbar. The hotel was graced by notable business persons, educators, and musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, and Duke Ellington. After the original hotel started deteriorating in the 1980s, the City of Gainesville restored it and Pleasant Place was established to care for teen moms in need of assistance. In addition to the main house, the small house in the back was converted into a haven for the homeless looking for a transition back to dignity.

 The Union Academy
Established in 1886, it was the premier educational setting for most blacks in the area at the time. It was one of the first state-funded grade school for blacks at that time. The academy sat at the southwest corners of NW 1st Street and NW 6th Avenue. The school initially served about 179 students ranging in ages and quickly grew in popularity to over 500. Before the school closed and changed names to what would be known as Lincoln High School. A. Quinn Jones, who the former Lincoln High School building is named, was the last principle at the academy. At the Union Academy’s original location now stands the Rosa Williams Center for recreation.

Josiah Walls
A teacher, politician, lumberman, and entrepreneur all describe Josiah Walls. Mr. Walls was the first black U.S. Congressman from Florida. He served on his post for a total of six years. After leaving congress, it wasn’t until 1992 when another black state representative would serve. In 1873, Wells bought the New Era, the first newspaper owned by a black person. Although he only had it for a year, he merged his business with another local publication, The Farmer’s Journal. Walls was involved in a lot during his time in Gainesville, he even served as mayor. After ending his tenure in politics, Wells went back to farming where he owned a large farm on Paynes Prairie.


Wabash Hall & The Cotton Club
Two great staples in Gainesville back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Wabash Hall, which is still standing, has a dancehall on the top floor and a grocery store on the bottom floor owned by the Gills and Glovers. Many Lincoln High Proms and Football victory dances were once held there. Gainesville was a huge tour stop for well known artist at the time such as B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown. The Old Cotton Club welcomed these artist to wow the locals for a night of fun and entertainment. Food was served and was always a hopping spot on the tour circuit.


Positive to know all that was happening just a few short years ago here in our backyard of Gainesville. Looking to the past in commemoration of Black History month we can imagine the diverse community that created the robust Lincoln, Pleasant Street, and Seminary communities. As Gainesville continues to grow, we all hope to work together to remain inclusive and diverse for years to come.

By Nadia Alcide of Simply Sociable

Simply Sociable is a boutique administrative consulting firm that understands the importance of leveraging the internet and technology. Simply Sociable specializes in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs to work on their business instead of in it. Nadia Alcide is the founder and a University of Florida alumni.




In Commemoration of Black History Month

What we can learn from early Black entrepreneurs

To kick off Black History Month, I asked, what have black entrepreneurs of the past taught us? Diversity in the United States and abroad has contributed to significant advancements in regard to the pride of black business ownership and innovation. Black Entrepreneurs of the past and present have blazed their own trails to provide better lives for their families, customers, and communities.

As we conducted research on this topic, to learn more, there were a number of common themes that surfaced. The list is pretty extensive. Although the earliest documentation of entrepreneurship started in the 1600s, there are transferable takeaways in business today. Let’s dive into a few of these themes.

Embrace Roadblocks, Smoother Road is ahead

Take a page from the book of entrepreneur, Robert Gordon. Born a slave in the 19th century, he was able to purchase his freedom. With his newfound freedom he invested $15,000 in a Cincinnati coal yard. In an attempt to put Gordon out of business, fellow coal yard owners tried to undercut his prices. He caught on quickly and hired men to purchase the cheaper coal on his behalf, eventually he sold his supply at significantly higher prices after his competition had very little left in their inventories. In a failed attempt to undercut Gordon it only made him more successful leaving behind a net worth of $200,000 (nearly $4.5 million today) at the time of his death in 1884. When facing roadblocks in your business, persevere, there are smoother roads ahead. 

Learn The Language

Learn the language of your customers, champions, and network to improve your negotiation and sales success rate. Yes, knowing another language is amazing, but in this context, we’re talking about understanding the culture, needs, and how to communicate. Early black entrepreneurs like James Beckwourth were skilled negotiators and linguists. It established their success as scouts, traders, and trappers in the 1700s where they were able to act as liaisons between two to three different ethnic parties to conduct necessary business. This skill gave many Black Americans command over the trading industry. Think about it this way, next time you approach a client, vendor, or partner remember how these savvy entrepreneurs built their success from “learning the language”.

Use Available Resources

There may come a time, often or rare, when you may not have all of the resources you think you need to complete a project. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who are forced into creativity but come out winning after all is said and done. Historically speaking, Black Americans weren’t always afforded the access to the same resources as their counterparts. They made due with what they had by establishing new and innovative ways to get the job completed. In addition to creativity, they utilized their community resources whenever it was available. The economics and efficacy of Black American can be examined on a variety of levels. The lesson here is, remember to seek help from your resources whenever you can. There are departments like the UF Division of Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations who specialize in providing continuing education courses, business resources, and mentorship for business success.

Touching on these three themes we realize that there are lessons learned from the ancestors of the past. Looking at the past can quite possibly determine successes in the future of your business.

By Nadia Alcide of Simply Sociable

Simply Sociable is a boutique administrative consulting firm that understands the importance of leveraging the internet and technology. Simply Sociable specializes in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs to work on their business instead of in it. Nadia Alcide is the founder and a University of Florida alumni.

SBVDR & OSD Sign Agreement To Help Small Businesses

~Ambassador Agreement assists Florida businesses in governmental and higher education contracting~

Media Contacts:
Kathey Porter,, (352) 392-0380
Hue T. Reynolds,, (850) 487-1418

Gainesville, Fla.– The University of Florida’s Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations Division (UF Small Business) and the Florida Department of Management Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) executed an Ambassador Agreement to increase contracting opportunities for Florida’s woman-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses. The purpose of the agreement is to develop and foster a mutual understanding and working relationship between the University’s Small Business Office and OSD to increase the number of certified business enterprises in the state.

“The Office of Supplier Diversity is thrilled to partner with the University of Florida to promote small business development in our state,” said Hue Reynolds, Executive Director of OSD. “Today’s collaboration, brings attention to the state’s certification program and its efforts to assist certified businesses as they approach the state’s procurement process while enhancing the supplier diversity of our state.”

The University’s Women’s Business + Leadership Conference in Gainesville was held in commemoration of Women’s Small Business Month. “We are pleased to strengthen this relationship with OSD to sufficiently ensure we are working collaboratively to the benefit of small businesses,” said University of Florida Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations Director Kathey K. Porter. “It is fitting that we solidify this partnership during this month as celebrate women entrepreneurs.”

About the Office of Supplier Diversity: The Department of Management Services’ Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) works to improve economic opportunities available for woman-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses by providing education, advocacy, training and technical assistance with certification. For more information about OSD, please visit

About the University of Florida Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations Division: UF’s Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations Division is responsible for overseeing UF’s Supplier Diversity Program which focuses on identifying and utilizing a diverse supply of qualified vendors interested in providing the many services and products required by the

2017 Mentor Protégé Program Release

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations office is pleased to announce the launch of its 2017 Mentor-Protégé Program. This program connects emerging businesses with established business leaders and provides them with the opportunity to learn and hear from UF departments, project managers and business industry experts and interface with fellow UF administrative leaders and thought leaders. This year’s class boast an impressive number of participants from a variety of industries ranging from construction to professional services.

The year-long program meets eight times from January to November. The program officially got underway last week with a reception at the O’Connell Center, in which UF’s SBVDR introduced the mentor/protégé participants to one another, provided a program overview and led a tour of the newly renovated O’Connell Center, which can be used as a meeting space and venue for the business community.

“Our Mentor-Protégé program, one of the few in the state of Florida, offers free, hands-on mentoring and coaching to small business by larger companies that are often leaders in their respective fields,” said SBVDR Director Kathey Porter. “This program can not only lead to business opportunities with the University of Florida, but prepares companies for large contract opportunities throughout the state and hopefully, long term success as entrepreneurs. There are a number of companies that previously participated as protégés and are successful, major contractors for UF as well as mentors in the program,” adds Porter.

For companies interested in participating in the next year’s program, either as a mentor or protégé, contact UF’s SBVDR office at or 352-392-0380 for details.

Think you don’t have time for continuing education? Think again!

It’s no secret that entrepreneurs are tasked with doing everything in their business. The thought of adding one more thing can seem impossible! But when it comes to continuing education, business owners should look at these opportunities as investments in their future. In the daily press of running a business, it’s tough to step back and take a breath. But, ongoing success is not going to simply jump into your lap. You must be proactive and embrace new technologies, ideas and business models. Entrepreneurs who are innovative, bold and gutsy will win the day. After all, as General George Patton once said, “Opportunities do not come to those who wait. They are captured by those who attack.”

The number and variety of workshop events, conferences, talks, etc. for small businesses are so plentiful that it can be hard to determine which are the best to attend. Whether its professional business development, networking for new opportunities or camaraderie with fellow entrepreneurs, taking a frequent assessment of your need gaps can help determine which educational opportunities are best for your business. Once you determine what your needs are, continuing education can provide a vast wealth of business knowledge, and it doesn’t take much time to reap the benefit. A consistent regimen of small, informative bites and interactions can feed your brain and your business for the long term.

Gainesville has a burgeoning yet dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. Supporting an environment where companies can thrive requires an important underlying framework which includes a base of resources and professionals—incubators, academics, business advocates and consultants–who understand entrepreneurial companies and are prepared to assist them.

One such opportunity for small businesses to gain new insights is the UF Business Development Workshops. Presented by the University of Florida Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations, this monthly program is designed to give small business owners the tools needed to become successful vendors for UF. Conducted by UF departments, project managers and industry professionals, these workshops help businesses learn how to:

  • CONNECT – to the various area resources that can help your business.
  • ENGAGE – with our programs and event.
  • BUY – learn what items we buy and how we buy them.

These workshops are free and open to the public. Registration is required. To register, go to The Division of Small Business & Vendor Diversity Relations is a division of Business Affairs. Its mission is to seek out, identify and utilize small businesses, including women and minorities (SWMBEs), which provide services and/or commodities that are purchased by the University of Florida.

By Kathey Porter, MBA, CPSD | Director, UF Small Business & Vendor Diversity Relations

How women entrepreneurs can make being a woman-owned business work for them!

Presented by UF Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to publish the below excerpt on the White House blog The United State of Women, a global collective committed to improving the lives of women and girls everywhere. I also attended a summit in Washington D.C. featuring celebrities, dignitaries, activists, disruptors and women from all corners of industry and walks of life. I even had a front row seat for an address by President Obama. The energy was electric and it was impossible to leave without feeling compelled to ACT! I wanted to harness the enthusiasm and energy of the summit. The result – the inaugural UF Women’s Business + Leadership Conference.

In conjunction with Women’s Small Business Month, this event is designed to connect, educate, and inspire women entrepreneurs toward action. It will include dynamic speakers, panel discussions and more. I hope that this will become a signature event not just for UF, but the entire community.

Although there are still challenges, there has never been a better time to be a woman in business. Here are a few ways women entrepreneurs can make being a woman-owned business work for them.

Focus on profitability, not just passion

Is your passion profitable? While some entrepreneurs successfully build a business based on their passion, sometimes following your passion can lead to slow growth and low revenue. Consider the growth and revenue potential between business-to-consumer vs. business-to-business entities. Both are great paths, but they can result in completely different outcomes when it comes to revenue potential, cost per sale/order or the ability to scale. Cultivating multiple lines of business and revenue is key.

Build your net worth based on your network

The internet and social media have changed the way entrepreneurs do business and are a great way to network. Social media takes the traditional networking model a step further, allowing savvy participants to quickly connect to many contacts and create a robust business model to generate revenue and build net worth based on their network.

Think outside the “ideal” mentor box

Access to networks for financing, references, resources, etc. are not always readily available to women but may come through a mentor relationship. Women oftentimes look for mentors who are similar to them. This can create a comfortable situation, but it may not be the best formula for business. Mentors might not come in the form that we envision. Women may need to step outside the “ideal” mentor box.

Consider non-traditional entrepreneurial opportunities

There are many lucrative, non-traditional industries for women to consider such as construction or technology. While they may not be considered “sexy,” a business that makes money is very sexy!

Tout your status as a woman-owned business

Becoming certified provides businesses with increased access and visibility to entities that seek to do business with women-owned firms. Many entities have supplier diversity programs focused on finding qualified women-owned businesses to do business with.

This has been condensed from the original post, available here:

By Kathey Porter, MBA, CPSD | Director, UF Small Business & Vendor Diversity Relations

UF’s Kathey Porter featured during 2016 Essence Festival

essence-mpUniversity of Florida’s Director of Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations, Kathey Porter, was a featured speaker during the 2016 Essence Festival first ever Money and Power Expo – Leap, Run, Grow. Porter offered experiential insights in a session on July 1, 2016 at 2PM titled “So you think you’re ready to do business with the federal government?” The session explored key steps to helping businesses become contract ready and carve out a path to doing business with the federal government.

The 2016 Essence Money and Power Expo – Leap, Run, Grow is a partnership between Essence Magazine and the Minority Business Development Agency to support the development of Black women entrepreneurs by providing them with new and existing products, tools, services and experiences. This unique forum includes business topics such as Finance, Tech, Careers and Entrepreneurship with point of views from seasoned executives. Essence is dedicated to honoring the entrepreneurial accomplishments of women by providing a platform and rich content that appeal to the minority woman business owner.

Kathey Porter leads UF’s Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations division where she is responsible for providing strategic insights and recommendations on appropriate policies, procedures and processes in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations and developing an inclusive program focusing on ensuring equal access for Small/HUB Zone/Minority/Small Disadvantaged/Veteran/Service-Disabled Veteran/& Women-Owned businesses, by providing them equal opportunity to compete for procurement and contracting opportunities at the University.

Porter is a nationally recognized expert in the field of small business development and is a frequent speaker on small business development, supplier diversity and federal and higher education procurement. Kathey received her MBA from Georgia Southern University, BBA from Savannah State University and a CPSD (Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity) through the Institute for Supply Management

About Essence Festival
Time Inc.’s Essence Festival attracts more than 450,000 attendees for its annual cultural celebration featuring more than 100 performing artists and over 100 speakers—which include Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Tyra Banks, Misty Copeland and many more. Featuring entertainment, empowerment, and cultural experiences, it is recognized as one of the country’s largest live events.

Division at UF seeks to promote women-owned businesses

in: Featured Slider, News

The University of Florida has a robust program to engage small, minority and women-owned businesses. The Division of Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations (SBVDR), led by Director Kathey Porter, is charged with identifying small, minority and women-owned businesses to do business with UF and implement programs to increase their long-term viability and success. A noted small business development and entrepreneurship expert, Porter is a frequently sought after speaker/panelist for insights on increasing opportunities for women-owned businesses.

“I have been an entrepreneur and have worked with entrepreneurs for a number of years now. The University of Florida is very proactive about increasing opportunities for small businesses and has a variety of programs designed to increase their utilization,” said Porter.

Porter was recently invited to attend the inaugural White House United State of Women Summit in Washington DC. “I cannot tell you how impactful the event was. It made me more determined than ever to create a dynamic entrepreneurial community and support a local ecosystem for women entrepreneurs who are armed, ready and excited about doing business.”

Women-owned businesses represent a tremendous opportunity for the University of Florida. According to the 2014 State of Women Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express, as of 2014, there were nearly 9.1 million women-owned enterprises, employing nearly 7.9 million workers and generating over $1.4 trillion in revenues. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of women-owned firms grew at 1.5 times the national average. Additionally, revenue and employment growth among women-owned firms tops that of all other firms (with the exception of the country’s largest, publicly traded corporations).

Based on these statistics, Porter feels UF has an excellent opportunity to increase engagement amongst this group. One of the ways she plans to do this is through the upcoming Women’s Entrepreneurship + Leadership Conference to be held in October in celebration of Women’s Small Business Month. This event will target women entrepreneurs in the greater Gainesville area, as well as from surrounding areas including Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. The purpose of this event is, firstly, to raise awareness about opportunities that exist for female business owners with entities such as the University of Florida and, secondly, to get them excited about entrepreneurship and growing their businesses.

“I am very excited about the future for women-owned businesses in this area. By using available resources such as OSD, the University of Florida and others, women-owned businesses in our area have every opportunity for growth and success,” said Porter.