At the start of the new year, Illinois was ranked tenth in the country for women-led startups by Merchant Maverick, a small business comparison site. This bumped up the state of Illinois’ rating in comparison to previous years. This climb was due to an increase in the overall success rate of businesses and growth in venture capital investments.
Research Park has made a large contribution to the creation of women-led startups in Illinois. The Incubator, particularly EnterpriseWorks, has given women that are aspiring to become entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to transform their idea into a successful organization.
Bianca Bailey, CEO and founder of the EnterpriseWorks startup Agriwater, credits much of her success as a woman entrepreneur to the resources offered to her at Research Park. Because of EnterpriseWorks, Agriwater has received funding from the Department of Energy’s Innovation Crossroads Program.
“Employing more women administratively within incubators like EnterpriseWorks definitely makes a large impact on women being comfortable to even work in the space,” said Bailey.
EnterpriseWorks houses a variety of informational programs and events that are of particular benefit to organizations that are just getting their start. Educational sources, mentee opportunities, as well as groups tailored to helping women entrepreneurs, are all supportive resources that are offered at the Incubator. Having programs like these can really help to encourage women and give them the skills they need to make their great idea a reality.
“When you invest in a woman you invest in a community and you invest in improving the rest of the world,” Bailey said.