PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A Peoria-based initiative helping to support women entrepreneurs celebrated its grand launch and ribbon cutting Thursday night, Jan. 6.
Peoria Chamber of Commerce and the community came to LOFTIE Spaces and Events in downtown Peoria to celebrate Founding Females. Francie Hinrichsen, the organization’s founder, said they aim to help women share advice, network, and build their businesses through events and a private online portal.
“I think of Founding Females like an ecosystem for women in business,” Hinrichsen said. “We are here to uplift each other, to help clear the path for one another, and we are a community over competition type of organization where we’re cheering for you.”
Hinrichsen said women-owned businesses have increased by 27 percent since the pandemic began. Beginning her mission a year ago, Hinrichsen said she saw the need for a space for women to discuss owning a business and all the rewards and challenges that come with it.
“That often looks very different for a female than for a male,” Hinrichsen said. “What we’re doing is meeting women where they are in their unique life circumstances.”
Hinrichsen said Founding Females can help women of all experience levels find resources to succeed.
“I think of Founding Females like an ecosystem for women in business,” said Hinrichsen. “If a woman has a dream in her heart, and she wants to start a business, we are for her. If she’s advanced in her business, and she’s looking to profit, grow, scale, and potentially exit, we’re for her as well.”
Hinrichsen said their first major event, Founding Females of Central Illinois, will take place at LOFTIE Spaces and Events on March 5. To buy tickets and learn more about the initiative, visit their website.