Bad Girl Ventures' 3rd class of finalists showcases variety

Cincinnati-based micro-lending organization Bad Girl Ventures recently announced the finalists in its third class of women entrepreneurs seeking support and startup capital. The 10 finalists come from a wide range of industries and backgrounds, and Bad Girl Ventures founder Candace Klein said that the variety has her excited.

"We originally thought we'd be getting small mom-and-pop type businesses, but we're finding that we're also getting high-growth startup businesses applying," she said.

Once selected, the finalists will complete an eight-week training session in which business leaders cover every aspect of starting a business, from developing a business plan to marketing, accounting and acquiring funding. At the end, one finalist will receive a $25,000 micro-loan to help boost her company.

The finalists range from experienced businesswomen looking to expand their already-growing companies to a young entrepreneur getting a very early start on her business goals:

Grace Bosworth, of Global to Local Language Solutions, LLC, offers technology-based language solutions for businesses. Likewise, Mariel Broadus-Rodriguez, of CultureSpeak Consultng, offers language services to the healthcare industry. Jocelyn Cates' Venue Agent offers an innovative means for event locations to market their space at discount rates, and Beth Robeson's Healthy Kids Fast! provides a health education program for children and their parents.

Food-related businesses make up a sizeable part of the class, with Maria Walley of Daelia's Food Company seeking to expand her already-growing product distribution reach. Shalini Latour of Chocolats Latour is looking to enhance the growth of her confectionary brand, and 9-year-old Rosie Dean is seeking to expand her family's successful farm with her own boutique turkey operation.

Three of the finalists' businesses focus on building and construction, fields where one might not expect to see many women-owned businesses. Toni Winston of Tiburon Energy/Tiburon Construction offers a range of energy efficiency services, while Sarah Stevenson's Emerald Construction Management offers general contractor services. Lu Anne Van Kleunen's Premium Sealcoat offers asphalt-sealing services that have been well received in the Northern Kentucky and Dayton markets.

Klein said this third round of finalists comes as Bad Girl Ventures realizes a number of significant milestones. The non-profit has educated 60 businesses and financed 18 of them, helping to create 30 jobs in the region through business growth. In addition, she said the businesses involved with Bad Girl Ventures are doing something unexpected: forming a community.

"They're hiring each other, and working with each other, which is very exciting," Klein said. "That wasn't in my business plan, but it makes sense. It's been neat to watch that happen."

Writer: Matt Cunningham
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