Tri-Cities group working to support women entrepreneurs

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- The federal government estimates that the number of women-owned businesses has increased 44% since the 1970s.

The Professional Women’s Network goal is for this number to increase.

The network hosted the Women Owned Business Expo in Kingsport Tuesday night. Twenty-six businesses from around the Tri-Cities were featured.

Laura Quillen’s was one of them.

Quillen is a busy woman. She has a full-time job – and as of a few months ago – is the owner of The Dressy Owl Boutique in Downtown Kingsport.

For her – the first steps to being her own boss were tough.

“The hardest and most challenging thing is knowing what to do next, getting support from those that you need to elicit services from,” says Quillen.

Logan Addington, the team lead for the event, says this event was all about empowering women entrepreneurs.

“Its really difficult to start a business and get your kind of feet up under you when you’re first starting so this is such a great opportunity for women to showcase their businesses,” said Addington.

She also says supporting women in business directly relates to supporting the overall Tri-Cities economy.

“These women are vital to keeping our economy fresh downtown with all the things they can offer within their business,” said Addington.

In addition to networking, this event was about shopping and spreading the word about what places like downtown Kingsport have to offer.

“That’s one of the things about the boutiques in downtown Kingsport- very supportive of each other and it’s amazing,” says Quillen.

Quillen also says she also hopes to share lessons learned with others who have a dream.

“I think probably the most important thing is come up with a business plan, plan what you want to do, do a lot of research, go around and talk to people,” said Quillen.

Almost 100 people turned out for the Women Owned Business Expo. The event raised around a thousand dollars for the Second Harvest Food bank through booth and ticket fees.

To learn more about the Professional Women’s Network and their upcoming events you can visit their Facebook page.

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