Partners produce Entrepreneur YOU for women


Dawn Marchand. Photo via

A local university, in partnership with two area nonprofits, is hosting a conference for female entrepreneurs tomorrow.

The Entrepreneur YOU conference, hosted by GROW, Davenport University and the Michigan Women’s Foundation, is designed to teach female entrepreneurs about the challenges and opportunities women encounter as they start and grow their businesses.

The event will be held at Davenport’s Sneden Center in Grand Rapids and begins with registration at 8 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m.

U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, regional administrator Marianne O’Brien Markowitz and Helenistic CEO Dawn Marchand will be on hand as featured speakers, and the conference features a number of other educational presentations by local women.

Tickets for the event are $70.

Featured speakers

Markowitz was named regional administrator for SBA’s Midwest region in 2009 and oversees Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

She is the principal representative in the Midwest and interfaces between regional, state and local elected and appointed officials, trade organizations and small business communities. Recently, Markowitz served as the CFO for Obama for America and was previously a financial operations consultant for his campaign.

As owner and CEO of supplier diversity provider Helenistic, Marchand has gained national and international recognition as one of the “Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity” by DiversityPlus Magazine.

Day of presentations

The Entrepreneur YOU program features 17 presentations to aid female entrepreneurs in moving their companies ahead.

The presentations will address a variety of topics: marketing, finance, hiring, sales, succession planning, business modeling, procurement and more.

Some presentations included in the event are “Top 10 Things to Know Before Starting your Business” by Corrine Sprague, partner, Warner Norcross & Judd, “Life Reimagined” by Jennifer Muñoz, associate state director, AARP, “Lead by Design” and “Hiring that Makes Cents” by Rhoda Kreuzer, president, Partners in Action, and “Built to Last” by Veverly Austin, founder and president, Confident Living.

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