Before long, these dynamic women had created a company, named after Barbaras mother, capable of marketing and manufacturing their cleverly-designed products. Since they decided to turn their idea into a business, the demand for these unique handbags and luggage items has grown, making Vera Bradley a company known around the world. Helping these women with their venture was Score , a network of volunteer business mentors that was founded in 1964. Each year, the group provides thousands of free small business mentoring sessions, workshops and educational services to women or anyone else looking to start a businesses. Having Score (mentors) means businesses dont have to go it alone, said Betsy Dougert, a spokeswoman for the organization with chapters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. Starting a business can be challenging and intimidating, but clients reap the benefit from Score mentors wealth of experience on small business matters, making them better able to avoid mistakes and achieve success. Score also issued a report on the increase of women entrepreneurs in America, who employ 7.9 million people and generate $1.4 trillion in annual revenues. Since 1997, the number of women-owned firms in the U.S. has increased by 67.8 percent while the number of men-owned firms increased by 34.4 percent, according to Scores report. In addition to the number of women-owned firms steadily increasing, the employment rate of these firms increased by 11 percent while revenues grew 72.3 percent between 1997 and 2014. The highest industry concentration of women-owned enterprises was found in health care and social assistance, educational and other professional services such as house cleaning, which topped the list of women-owned businesses on Thumbtack.
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