WESST Introduces Women Who RISE Program

By Katie Knipe | August 5, 2020

Contributing to the strength of women’s business ownership

 Through June 2021, WESST is presenting “Women Who RISE,” a series of special events and training opportunities designed to provide women entrepreneurs the opportunity to build skills around small business development and the space to be heard and respected as a small business owner.

WESST Albuquerque’s Regional Manager, Margarita Guarin, was quoted in a recent Albuquerque Journal article discussing the value of woman-to-woman mentorship. Though she sees value in all mentoring, Guarin believes woman-to-woman mentoring is especially effective. Relationships are built on a foundation of trust, which can take time to establish. But women often find common ground with each other quickly, she said.

“There is a different energy when we have just women in the group,” Guarin said. Click here to check out the full article!

WESST is excited to foster the unique energy Margarita referenced through upcoming Women Who RISE training and networking opportunities for all-women cohorts. Our next Women Who RISE virtual event on August 19 event represents the first of three panel discussions as part of our “Women Who Own It Speaker Series.” Click here to register so you can hear from our panelists, Monica Jojola, Marisa Saavedra Gutierrez and Claudia Marquez!

Women remain underrepresented among the ranks of entrepreneurs and experience barriers to starting and growing a business that men do not. Until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 was signed into law, lenders could require a male cosigner and women were forced to jump through additional hurdles to access credit. While there are consequences when this law is broken today, there are many ways that gender disparities and biases continue to adversely affect women.

According to Department of Labor statistics, women make up about half of the overall workforce, but they are still underrepresented in higher pay, leadership and senior-level positions. Women are half as likely as men to start a business and compared to men, women small business owners feel they have less access to key resources like capital, clients and new business opportunities.

Since our inception in 1989, WESST’s services have focused on programs and support for women that wanted to defy these odds. The rate of new entrepreneurs among women has increased by 15.4 percent since 2016 and WESST wants to continue to contribute to the strength of women’s business ownership and a diverse, inclusive economy. Women Who RISE achieves this goal by focusing on all-women training cohorts.

Click here to sign up for WESST’s e-newsletter so you can receive updates about Women Who RISE!

About the Author


Katie Knipe

Katie Knipe hails from Kingsport, TN and has worked in nonprofit management and arts administration for the past decade. She has dedicated her career to fundraising for organizations whose missions fuel her fire, including those who promote classical music performance and who serve people experiencing homelessness.

Posted in