The average age someone starts a business is 43. Coincidentally, that is also the age of Leslee Hill, NIIC Director of WEOC Women’s Business Center (WBC). She’ll tell you that her adventures in business ownership make her more relational to clients. She was a co-owner of a mobile application start-up that served as a connector for individuals seeking image consulting. She sold her part of the business after about a year. Before joining NIIC, Hill was a solopreneur for about four years, founding a personal image/personal branding company.
Hill leads NIIC’s women’s business center (established in 2015) located on NIIC’s campus. WEOC WBC is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Women’s Business Center (150 centers in the U.S. and two in Indiana). Since joining NIIC five years ago, Hill has worked with NIIC staff to infuse WEOC WBC with the same foundational entrepreneurial support she would have liked to have had. This includes transparent connections to other business owners, access to subject matter experts and mentors, and business tools that could be easily implemented.
“Small business is the backbone of the American economy,” said SBA Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter. “Over 99% of the businesses in Indiana are small, and women own 47.3% of them. The WEOC WBC meets the needs of women entrepreneurs by providing outstanding support and wrap-around services using a creative, inspired, and innovative approach to programming, business coaching, and mentoring. The WEOC WBC team understands the barriers women face and meets them where they are on their journeys without judgment. They empower women by acting as a guide lighting their way for entrepreneurial success.”
This includes companies like the 2023 NIIC Mirro Founder Award recipient Sasha Chaney, Founder of Legendary Barber Lounge. And award finalists and founders Nurliza Ahmad Yee, Shwe Myeik Travel & Tour: Hajj & Umrah, LLC; NiYoka Moore, Moore Unique Styles, LLC, and Juliana Restrepo, Columbian Delights Fort Wayne.
All entrepreneurs should do the most challenging work of all -- mindset work. Starting and running a business will have you pulling from places within your psyche that you typically run from. Business ownership will have you running into yourself around every corner. Surround yourself with a therapist, a business coach, and five supportive individuals you will tap into weekly. Stay focused and keep going.
Director, WEOC Women's Business Center
Aligning Opportunities Between Students, Community, and Industry
Don Wood Foundation
P.O. Box 25537
10315 Dupont Circle Drive West
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
*By Appointment Only*