SÜDSALZSEE – When Jen Silver started her own business in 2019, she found that there were few resources to help her answer some of the questions that came up.
As an entrepreneur herself, she had taken advice from other women who ran their own businesses and found that they could identify with some of the problems she was going through. “It was difficult at first with almost no women under construction,” said Silver, operator of Roofing Utah.
She stuck with it, but eventually found encouragement from other women entrepreneurs and now hopes to make it easier for other women wanting to start their own business or to create another resource to help them anyway. She founded WOBNU (Women Owned Businesses of Northern Utah), a not-for-profit that aims to serve as a sort of resource center for aspiring women entrepreneurs and a directory for consumers looking for women-owned businesses.
“Our goal is to give women in Utah the confidence to start new businesses or expand their existing businesses. And that’s good not only for the women of Utah but for the whole of Utah,” said Silver, referring to her efforts the region concentrated stretches from Utah County to northern Utah.
So far, operators of around 25 female-owned companies have registered interested in being included in the directory. This includes operators of hairdressing and nail salons, a marketing company and bakeries. Silver said she is reviewing her information and hoping to get the names of a total of 50 companies before going live with all of this. But she is eager to move the effort forward.
Silver started her South Salt Lake-based company after the Salt Lake City roofing company she worked for went under. “I loved what I did. I loved my team,” she said.
Confident that she could do it, she still had questions. One of the big ones – how do you deal with the fear and uncertainty that comes with starting a business, especially as a woman in a male-dominated industry? “I wanted to find a like-minded woman who had got this through, and I couldn’t find one,” she said.
In WOBNU, she envisions a place where women entrepreneurs might feel a little more comfortable seeking feedback and information on all sorts of topics, from solving cash flow problems to choosing the right clothes. She wants it to be “something that is simple and accessible and quick,” she said.
In addition, she wants to create a haven where women feel empowered to start businesses. She suspects that many don’t even try to start a business, intimidated by the perceived challenges. “I think that happens every day,” she said.