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44 Jewish News Blazing their own trails by Salvatore Caputo That figure was up 29.6 percent from 2007. Those busi- nesses brought in 1.6 trillion in receipts and the 10.6 per- cent of women-owned firms that have employees employed 8.9 million people in the U.S. in 2012. Just for clarification women-owned businesses include firms that are at least 50 percent owned by a woman. As Amanda Brown the executive director of the NWBC said in a statement for Small Business Week The economic impact of women entrepreneurs is a topic that cannot afford to fly under the radar. Women entrepreneurs are significant contributors to our economy. As the short profiles collected on the next few pages show Jewish women in the Valley have started some very interesting enterprises in networking publishing retail and other industries. Their reasons for starting a business are varied but most often youll hear them express their desire to just go for it and make their ideas bear financial fruit by being their own boss. Others enjoy working out of their own home and hav- ing a flexible if quite often hectic schedule. We asked the women four questions 1. When and why did you start your business 2. What advice would you give other women interested in starting a business 3. How do you balance your business and your life 4. What influence does being Jewish have on your busi- ness Their answers follow. T here are 10 million businesses owned by women in the United States a milestone reached in 2015 according to the National Womens Business Council. In fact women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the small-business community. Women-owned firms made up 36.2 percent of all nonfarm businesses in 2012 the latest year for which statistics are available. Gelie Akhenblit FounderCEO NetworkingPhoenix Launched 2008 networkingphoenix.com Why did you start Networking Phoenix I started attending a lot of networking events to meet others who might inspire me. I realized there was a huge need in the market for a calendar that housed all of the local networking events. Soon after quitting my corpo- rate job I created the rst version of our online calendar. Originally it was just intended to be used by me and my networking friends I wasnt even sure others would like it. What stemmed from a hobby and an idea eight years later is a national company. Advice My advice to anyone who wants to venture out on their own is to go for it. With all the resources available to business owners and startups theres almost no reason not to try it. There are resources all over the Internet and our local entrepreneurial ecosystem has gotten a major boost since the days that I launched. Pas- sion strong vision and determination are all factors that will yield you great results. On work-life balance Delegate to others. In business and personal life if theres a task that doesnt require my attention then Ill delegate it. That gives me more time to do the things that I need to do for myself i.e. get to the gym. Its important to rest and recharge and thats something I learned the hard way. Eight years into running my own company Im very selsh with my personal time and thats something Ive learned not to apologize about. On being Jewish in business In business its all about the people and how you treat them. My philosophy is that everyone needs to be treated with respect and kind- ness dicult situations need to be dealt with in an ethical manner. Much of my innate thought process comes from being Jewish and I believe that one of the reasons Ive found my success is because of how I treat people. women and business.indd 44 12216 1109 AM