‘Invest in She’ Event Serves as Catalyst for Iowa Female Entrepreneurs

‘Invest in She’ Event Serves as Catalyst for Iowa Female Entrepreneurs

This week, Ascent Members and IWLC “Invest in She” finalists are again taking the stage to pitch their women-owned businesses! The “Invest in She” event, held September 18 in Cedar Rapids, has served as a catalyst for Andrea Hansen, CEO of Des Moines-based Venuefox, and Nikki Hynek, CEO of Cedar Rapids-based Dollup.

Hansen, founder of Venuefox, a web-based event planning application, will soon graduate from Iowa’s first 90-day startup accelerator located in the NewBo district. Hansen is one of 10 entrepreneurs who will pitch her business to a group of investors on “Launch Day,” November 6 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Startup Accelerator has provided Hansen with the resources, tools and mentors that have helped shape her business model, allowing her to reach millions of small businesses across the country. Ascent Membership has provided Hansen with ongoing support, which will be critical after she leaves the accelerator to return to Des Moines.

“Invest in She” finalist Hynek, founder of Dollup Beauty, a beauty product line, will broadcast live on ShopHQ’s Gifts of Beauty segment at 12 a.m. on November 7, reaching into millions of households across the United States. Hynek’s Dollup Case was first placed on ShopHQ’s online store on August 24 and is now one of the bestselling items. In addition to her success with ShopHQ, the Dollup Case will appear in Von Maur’s Christmas promotions. Since the “Invest in She” event, Ms. Hynek has been surrounded by supporters. “I am really excited for the opportunity to take my product to the national stage on-air and I truly feel the ‘Invest in She’ event helped to perpetuate the momentum to get me there,” says Hynek. “At first, it was just me. Now, I have an army of supporters. It’s a blessing to no longer have to do grow my business alone!”

Lydia Brown, founder of Ascent, an organization focused on the growth and development of Iowa women-owned businesses, believes that the businesses created by Hansen and Hynek will continue to flourish. “We are so proud of these ladies,” says Brown. “They haven’t stopped since the ‘Invest in She’ event and have made great strides to grow their businesses. Andrea and Nikki are motivated and they are positioning their companies to make a large impact on Iowa’s economy. Ascent is here to be part of their team and ensure they have the tools they need to be successful.”

About Ascent
The Ascent mission is to inspire and support women in business ownership in a meaningful way, to create jobs, drive economies and strengthen communities. Ascent is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization driven by the private sector with the assistance of public and academic partnerships. www.ascentiowa.org

About IWLC
IWLC is the state’s premier leadership organization for women, offering comprehensive leadership resources including events featuring prominent speakers, frequent networking opportunities, and other important services to advance women’s leadership in all aspects of their lives. Since 2007, IWLC – originally known as the Iowa Women’s Leadership Conference – has staged events attracting more than 10,000 women and men from across the Midwest. IWLC is an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization. www.iwlcleads.org

Jami Gordon, Ascent Iowa

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