Entrepreneurial options

Increasingly, women are starting their own companies: An American Express study released last month named Idaho 18th in the nation for growth in the number of female-owned businesses. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that the number of women in managerial or professional occupations has also increased in Idaho over the last decade.

“As we look at the vendors we work with, the majority are actually entrepreneurial women,” said McKinney.

But Idaho remains one of the only states in the nation without a Women’s Business Center — education networks overseen by the Small Business Administration and “designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses.” The most recent attempt at a center in Idaho lasted five years, shuttering in 2016 after struggling to raise the $150,000 cash match the SBA required to continue its funding. Attempts to revive it have faltered.

“The Women’s Business Center closed down because we could not get support from the community,” said Shari Chatterton, the Idaho center’s former director. “The state of Idaho is still in big need of some kind of a support system for women who want to go into business. The WBC was a safe place for a lot of these women to come.”

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