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Powerful women succeed in small business

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New Chamber of Commerce Director Lacey Deeds has initiated a group called “Females About Business.”  

It was started because 53 percent of businesses in Bedford County are owned or managed by women, Deeds said.  

Deeds has a theory on why that might be.  

“My personal theory―most jobs here are industrial, with little female recruitment for those jobs. Women have had to create their own businesses or management style to stay in the workforce,” said Deeds.  

According to Data USA, the most common employment sector for those who live in Bedford County is manufacturing with 5,449 people as of 2019.  

“There are some powerhouse women in town and we need to capture their talents. Women sometimes have different concerns/ needs than most men in the workforce, so looking at those issues can bring a lot of discussion to the front,” said Deeds.  

“Females About Business” had its first meeting on Sept. 16 at the Powerhouse Studio, 103 Northside Park Dr. in Shelbyville. It featured a networking opportunity for business owners and even a kickboxing performance by Tullahoma Thai Boxing.  

Powerhouse Studio is another emerging female-owned business. Owned by friends Gabriella Ortiz, Adriana Merino, and Fabiola Rodriguez, the studio opened in June and features kickboxing, HIIT, and Zumba classes.  

It’s been a “rollercoaster” since opening this past summer, the business owners said.  

Deeds said she is unsure just how many women business-owners have shown interest in joining “Females about Business,” but she assures, “There has been much interest in the concept, and the number will grow as word gets out. We even have interest from women in Tullahoma wanting to participate.”  

Deeds said the Chamber wants to reach out to business owners to more closely identity their needs. Deeds explained, finding solutions for concerns like work/life balance, kids, childcare, and apparel are parts of the conversation she wants to open to eventually move on to bigger things with more scope.  

“I’m not saying men don’t experience those issues also, but I think women are more pronounced in how they handle them,” she said. Deeds said meetings will be quarterly, with the next planned for mid-December.  

“If women can tackle some of the business and personal issues head on, then I hope we can assist them in their mission,” said Deeds. 

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