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Program Connects Women In Business

By Lorelei Stevens Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) An organization for female business owners called "WE CAN" will create a new peer learning group for women on Cape Cod. The "GROW" program will include monthly facilitated workshops with 6-8 women who've owned their businesses for 2 or more years. The idea is that the women will help one another "GROW" as entrepreneurs. HARWICH PORT

Cape women looking to energize and build their businesses will have a new resource this fall.

WE CAN, the empowerment organization that offers classes, workshops, one-on-one career mentoring as well as legal and financial counseling services to women of all income levels at no charge, is launching an addition to its work support program, called GROW.

"Get Results with Others' Wisdom" is a combination support group and peer mentoring opportunity, according to WE CAN Executive Director Andi Genser.

"This is a very WE CAN concept, providing new content and information in a supportive setting," she said.

The program includes a monthly three-hour, facilitated workshop with six to eight women participants who have owned their businesses for two or more years. There will be two groups, one meeting in Hyannis and the other meeting in Harwich, and participants will be expected to make a six-month commitment to their group.

GROW came out of discussions with other area business support groups, including SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, the Community Development Partnership and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, Genser said, "because there is too much work to be done to duplicate effort."

WE CAN received feedback from focus groups.

"We see this as a need," Genser said. "This is not a workshop, not one-to-one. It's a facilitated, peer learning community and a women-only space."

WE CAN board member Teri Cavanaugh of Pocasset has extensive experience in women-focused banking and business development and has run GROW groups in Hyannis, Sandwich, Falmouth and Bourne.

Running a small business takes so much time and energy that it can be difficult for women owners to find time for planning and goal setting, Cavanaugh wrote in a text message.

"Plus, most are good practitioners but now need business advice to grow and be profitable," she wrote.

Women business owners report that GROW groups help them develop more skilled business acumen, Cavanaugh wrote.

"They have a brain trust of peers for ideas and ongoing support," she wrote. "And accountability partners to report progress to each month."

Because of the commitment required from GROW group participants, WE CAN, which stands for Women's Empowerment through Cape Area Networking, is holding two information sessions next week, although the actual groups will not begin meeting until early October.

The GROW program is being presented in collaboration with Cape Cod Five and SCORE and funded in part by Cape Cod Young Professionals with a $2,000 grant through the CCYP Giving Circle of the Cape Cod Foundation. There is no charge to participate and child care reimbursement will be made available to those who need it, Genser said.

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