St. Louis non-profit helping women entrepreneurs start businesses

ST. LOUIS, MO — Women business owners have had a strong history over the past twenty years. The story was far different as recent as fifty years ago.

Many new women owned businesses in Metropolitan St. Louis are part of a network of forward-thinking entrepreneurs who want to grow their business. They have tapped resources provided by Brazen St. Louis.

It is a perfect fit for a young mother from Chesterfield. Suparba Panda was once a dedicated employee for a major corporation. Now she runs her own business, a STEM development center for kids in grade school and high school.

“We focus on teaching them robotics, game development, coding and 3d printing. We strive to increase their problem-solving ability and creative thinking skill set.” Says Panda.

Panda opened the business because she couldn't find a strong STEM camp for her young son. And like most entrepreneurs, they create where there is a void.

If you ask any new business owner they’ll tell you it takes money to get off the ground. According to Mindy Mazur, Executive Director of Brazen St. Louis, women faced patronizing lenders in years past. Fortunately, things are different now.

“In 1988 the federal law was changed to allow a woman who wanted a business loan to apply for one, for the first time, without a co-signer who was a male relative,” says Mazur.

Changing that law opened doors for more women to take the plunge. Brazen St. Louis, is a nonprofit membership-based organization helping women grow their business.

“We connect our members up with mentoring opportunities. In key building block areas such as accounting, IT, marketing, legal and fundraising.” Mazur says.

Panda became a member last summer. And she says it gives her inspiration and motivation.

“The good thing is that we can connect and be each other’s ears and we can learn their problems and we can help them solve that.” Says Panda

“We also have growth groups where women come together, CEO`s and founders, to help push each other to the next level.” Mazur says

Researchers working for the women's foundation conclude women-owned businesses accounted for about 24 billion dollars in sales in 2012.

Panda recommends entrepreneurship for women who are driven and willing to make sacrifices.

“Is it easy? No, it is not easy. It requires a lot of work. The challenge to get into business is not big, but the challenge is to sustain that business.” Panda says.

Programming and technical resources are available year-round for members of Brazen St. Louis For details about services and membership see the link below.