The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Helps The Dessert Ladies Succeed with a Cherry on Top by Pivoting and Powering Up During Covid Crisis

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WCEC PowerUp Provides Year-long Peer Advisory Program to Help Small Businesses Impacted by Covid-19 Achieve Economic Sustainability

Women's Center for Entrepreneurship

“PowerUp is part of the WCEC educational entrepreneurship programs, including business counseling and training that makes us a one stop shop for small, women and minority-owned businesses impacted by Covid-19 who are looking to level up.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many established businesses to re-evaluate, adapt and pivot to maintain economic sustainability. The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. (WCEC) works with businesses at different stages of growth from start up to more established businesses by providing business counseling, training and access to Covid-19 relief funding.

The WCEC PowerUp program helps established, profitable small businesses grow to their full potential with a customized growth plan that is practical, experiential and specific to their business needs. In response to Covid-19 and the financial hardships small business owners are facing, this program is being offered at a reduced rate to help overcome current challenges. The 12-month structured peer-advisory group defined by business leaders and experts, is set up to help established small businesses grow to a more successful business. This program is offered as individual groups of 8-12 business owners and provides business advisory leadership and mentoring in 3-hour monthly meetings. Led by experienced facilitators, PowerUp centers around building a trusted network of experienced professionals who serve as a valued braintrust to help small business owners take their business to the next level.

WCEC client, The Dessert Ladies, after successfully completing the PowerUp program, was able to grow their business and see a significant increase in revenue. Co-owners, Geraldine Keogh and daughter Lindsay Keogh started the Dessert Ladies in 2010 as a way for corporations to show appreciation to their staff and clients with personalized tasty treats. After being hand selected as the VIP Dessert Caterer for the NJ/NY Super Bowl, they were able to expand the catering branch of their business, Dessert Tables and to develop a spinoff company Biens Chocolate Centerpieces, which ships one of a kind chocolate centerpieces nationally.

By working with WCEC PowerUp, The Dessert Ladies was able to scale up and achieve economic sustainability, even during the Covid pandemic. “I gained clarity about working on my business versus working in my business,” says Geraldine Keogh. “As a result, the WCEC equipped me with the best tools to hire better quality staff that would support our day to day goals, as well as our big picture passions. We've recently expanded to a second production facility that will now allow us to automate some of the production process and handle a much larger holiday capacity. We've also really gone for the gold and invented, designed, manufactured and now patented a one of a kind chocolate gifting experience. The direction we received from the directors of the WCEC to all of the programs available has been a total game changer”. Like most small and medium-sized businesses, The Dessert Ladies team has had to make adjustments during Covid and limit their catering business, but were able to re-allocate resources to focus on a new national expansion plan.

WCEC Board President Alyce Hackett, who has been instrumental in developing the PowerUp program says “We are thrilled that PowerUp has success stories like The Dessert Ladies which shows how important professional networks are for female entrepreneurs and businesses looking to sustain growth and expand, especially during turbulent times.” WCEC Executive Director Rana Shanawani agrees that these programs are critical for small businesses who are hurting during this time. “PowerUp is part of the WCEC educational entrepreneurship programs, including business counseling and training that makes us a one stop shop for small, women and minority-owned businesses impacted by Covid-19 who are looking to level up.”

In addition to PowerUp, the WCEC has a slate of educational webinars focused on how businesses can pivot and grow in this climate with classes focused on PR and marketing, how to transition from brick and mortar to e-commerce, funding for minority-owned businesses, cybersecurity and Covid-19 relief loan and grant opportunities.

About WCEC
The Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship is a not-for-profit organization, funded in part by the Small Business Administration (SBA) whose mission is to help female entrepreneurs become successful business owners. WCEC supports start-ups and existing businesses looking to grow, by providing educational resources, business counseling, training and COVID-19 loan and grant assistance.

For more information on WCEC, go to http://www.wcecnj.org

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