Phoenixville >> A unique expo highlighting women entrepreneurs and female veterans is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 7, at Phoenixville Area Middle School.
The 2017 Women Entrepreneur & Women Veteran Expo will give women from different business areas the opportunity to connect with each other to educate, share information and inspire other women to become business owners, according to organizer Dolores Winston, founder and CEO of Here to Apparel. The online shop specializes in sports attire and souvenirs that promote positive thinking, according to the company’s website.
“We’re bringing women entrepreneurs and women veterans together to spend the day connecting with each other and supporting each other,” Winston said. “This is about sharing the knowledge to help another woman.”
Winston said she had organized an entrepreneur expo in 2011. But this year’s event is different because it focuses on women entrepreneurs and women veterans.
The expo will include panel discussions, the opportunity to visit with vendors promoting products and services, the chance to network with potential new customers and entertainment. At the end of the day, the group will name a woman entrepreneur of the year from the Phoenixville area. That award will be presented by state Rep. Warren Kampf, R-157th Dist.
“My dream is to bring women entrepreneurs together. On this day motivated women will share, educate, encourage, inspire, and rejuvenate us to bring out the best in ourselves,” Winston said on the website for the event.
A highlight of the event, according to Winston, will be the presentation of two youth entrepreneurs: Jenna Swymelar, a fifth grade student at Renaissance Academy Charter School in Phoenixville and Jessica Meyers, a fifth grade student at Schuylkill Elementary School in Phoenixville.
Winston said the young entrepreneurs will present their businesses to the group. Swymelar has a business called Sweet Dream Pillows by Jenna, while Meyers’ business is balloon creations.
Keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. Betty Moseley Brown, associate director, Center for Women Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., and 19th president of the Women Marines Association.
“I met her at an event in Indiana, and when she heard what we were doing in bringing women entrepreneurs and women veterans together, she wanted to be part of it,” Winston added.
Another speaker will be Jason Raia, executive vice president of the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, a national educational non-profit that encourages “engaged, responsible citizenship,” according to the organization’s website. Winston said Raia will speak about the organization’s youth outreach.
Two panel discussions will be held during the day. The first will feature six Phoenixville-area businesswomen, who will share stories about starting their own businesses.
The second panel discussion will focus on empowerment. Winston said the group of five women, “come from different areas of experiences and we’ll share what we’re doing and how we’re empowering women,” she said.
In addition to Kampf’s presentation of the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award, citations will be presented to the winner by state Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19th Dist., and U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist.
The event will be held from 2-7 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Phoenixville Area Middle School, 1000 Purple Pride Parkway in Phoenixville. Winston said more than 20 vendors have signed up to attend will attend the event. The 2017 Women Entrepreneur & Women Veteran Expo is free, and while registration is not required, people planning to attend can register at https://weexpo.eventbrite.com.