Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Entrepreneurs
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Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Entrepreneurs


orchardknob1
From left to right: Sabrina Hagood, Asianna Leslie, Majeedah Giddens, Mary Bledsoe, Kyndall Edwards, Ariel Barnes, Brie Stevens

Entrepreneurship is foundational to Girl Scouting. Courage, confidence, and character—that’s what any entrepreneur needs to run a successful business. These traits are also fundamental to Girl Scouts’ mission of building women who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts at the Orchard Knob Middle School Outreach site in Chattanooga got the chance to learn from local female entrepreneurs and see these traits in action in each of their entrepreneurial lives.

For weeks, the middle schoolers dreamed up their own businesses, researched the needs and costs, created their own business cards, and learned how to network and pitch their ideas. The business plans included restaurants, publishing companies, dance studios, hair salons, and veterinary hospitals. To conclude the hands-on educational experience, Asianna Leslie, site program coordinator, scheduled six female entrepreneurs to speak about their experiences and hold a mock networking session.

 “The school is having testing this week…and because of the relationship that the Girl Scouts have built, they made an exception for us,” said Sarah Hinton, GSCSA Programs Manager.  “Other clubs are not meeting this week, but they are they letting us meet for this event. To me that shows they really value what Girl Scouts provides for the school and these girls.”

Asianna hosted the event and asked the visiting entrepreneurs questions ranging from how they started their businesses to managing finances, social media, and dealing with negative feedback. The women—who owned businesses in fields of technology, beauty, real estate, and coaching—answered candidly. Each woman’s journey looked different as they discussed budgeting, failure, pitch competitions, building multiple brands, and more.

After the question and answer session, the Girl Scouts were invited to chat one-on-one and discuss their own business dreams and share firm handshakes. This event ended up becoming Razaisha’s favorite thing that she’s done as a Girl Scout so far. She wants to open her own dance studio.

“[I learned] it’s not all about how much money you have,” the seventh grader said, “but about talent and effort you put in to accomplish what you want to do.”

Events like this are invaluable, especially for a girl in under-served populations. That’s why GSCSA started the Outreach program in the summer of 2018.

“Traditional Girl Scouting is awesome…but not everyone has the resources, both financially and with the support around them to do it,” said Linnea Ryan, a program facilitator. “So giving the same experience [with Outreach] gives those girls equal opportunity…and to not miss out on anything because they are at a disadvantage.”

Asianna says she’s already seen growth in the group of girls since she started at the beginning of the school year. She credits the “safe space” that Girl Scouting offers to that progress.

“They’re calmer,” she said. “You can tell they’ve built a respect for me, and we’ve built a relationship as well.”

This hands-on event gave this group of girls’ real-world experience and encouraged them to set goals. In the end, they didn’t just end up earning their Entrepreneur badge, but these Girl Scouts learned—through the example of women around them—that they can rise to the challenge and create solutions in their community.

A special thanks to Ariel Barnes, Mary Bledsoe with Mary BStyling Hair Studio, Kyndall Edwards with Beauty By Kyndall Leigh, Majeeda Giddons with Scenic City Aesthetics, Sabrina Hagood with Keller Williams Realty, and Brie Stevens with Infinity Co. Catering for the event was provided by Darius Ware with Soul2Go Catering.