Allison Lew noticed there weren’t a lot women attending events for entrepreneurs and people in start-up and tech businesses, so she set out to find out why — and get them involved.
Lew, a business development coordinator for Provo, pulled together a focus group of women, some entrepreneurs as well as women from Brigham Young and Utah Valley universities. She asked them to think about the community of women entrepreneurs and the obstacles that get in the way of growing their businesses and getting engaged in the business community. From that focus group came the idea for a monthly workshop series to help women entrepreneurs, called Braid, Lew said.
The group meets from 7-8:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at different locations. At the first meeting in January, the group heard from Lindsay Hadley, co-founder of Time Machine, about her entrepreneurial journey. Then in February it was all about using social media. This month’s meeting will be a hands-on workshop on social media at Wallaroo Media, 120 W. Center St. in Provo, Lew said. She suggests parking behind the Covey Center or City Center and walking over. In April, a designer from Adobe will be talking about creating your first logo.
“I’ve had a lot of people approach me about teaching workshops, which has been awesome,” she said. “I’m still learning what it is that people want to learn and what their needs are.”
The goal is for attendees to leave each workshop with a new skill, Lew said.
Another goal for the program is more mentorship, she said, “preferably from other women in the business community.” So far it’s been mostly men approaching her about leading workshops and being mentors, but she thinks a lot of women would like to be mentored by other women.
And even though Braid was born for women and is run by Provo City, it’s not just for women who live in Provo, Lew said — about 10 percent of the attendees have been men. “Anyone can come.”
Several times a year, free child care will be available during the workshops, she said. There will be 15 child care spots open during the May and September workshops at the Provo Rec Center.