Women Entrepreneurs Invited to Join Rising Tide Network

by Lura Jackson

 

There’s an interesting phenomenon happening in Maine, and it’s directly related to women and their success at operating businesses here. In the past ten years, the revenue made by women business owners in the state has increased by 214 percent, according to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report. This increase is the highest in the country, indicating that women in Maine are clearly doing something right. 

For Lanette Pottle, who owns and operates Positivity Lady, part of the answer comes from the willingness of Maine women to network and share both their frustrations and their successes with one another. In a rural area like Eastern Maine, having a network that consists of like-minded professionals is critical to creating a support structure that can help businesses weather difficult transitions. Recognizing that importance, Pottle created a local Rising Tide Network earlier this year in January. 

“The Rising Tide Network for Washington County Women in Business is a place to build knowledge, skills, and relationships with other positive-minded, solution-focused women in business,” Pottle said. Meetings are “a safe space where we come together for 90 minutes to support one another and celebrate what we all have in common – being a woman in business in Washington County.”

The first meeting was held in Machias on a sub-zero evening. Despite the unfavorable conditions, almost 30 women attended from 13 communities around the county. “I took that as a strong indication that there was a strong need and interest in this type of group,” Pottle said.

Since then, the Rising Tide Network has met once a month, alternating between Calais and Machias. Every meeting draws between 15 and 20 attendees, each of which are involved in having their own business at some stage. Some participants are in the imagining stage and are collecting information as they prepare to materialize their vision, while others have been established for years. The types of businesses vary widely, from solopreneurs to home-based businesses with multi-level marketing strategies to microbusinesses and small businesses with a roster of employees.

 Those that attend the meetings regularly report that they find them very beneficial and supportive. “It’s refreshing to be able to ask for advice or help, and know that the members of the group are not only sympathetic and understanding, but often have knowledge that you can apply to your own situation,” writes Nancy Asante of her experience. 

There is a modest fee to attend the Rising Tide meetings, but all of the fees collected go into a grant fund. Members who have attending four or more meetings each year can apply for a grant to purchase equipment or training that will help their business grow. They will also be eligible for a cash award in December.

October’s Rising Tide Network meeting will be held at the Calais Motor Inn on October 16th at 5:30. New and prospective members are invited to attend. To find out more, visit www.lanettepottle.com/network.