New directory aims to increase visibility of women-owned businesses

Hilary Crowell, owner of Cultivated Thread, a small weaving mill in Bath. Waylon wolfe

Women-owned businesses across the country are helping to spur economic recovery, but they still face obstacles that are holding back the growth of their businesses, such as lack of capital and social constraints.

One of the main issues that women entrepreneurs face is accessing networks, which leads to missed opportunities. To bring greater visibility and support to Maine women entrepreneurs, the Brunswick-based CEI Women’s Business Center launched the Maine Business Women List earlier this month. It is the first public directory of women-owned businesses across Maine.

“We know that women as entrepreneurs and business owners have a really huge impact on our economy and our communities, as women tend to reinvest a large portion of their profits back into their communities,” said Sarah Guerette. , Director of the CEI Women’s Business Center. “It strengthens the places where we work, live and raise our families. So we wanted to find a way to increase the visibility of women-owned businesses in Maine. “

Maine has about 40,800 women-owned businesses, employing 30,100 people and awarding about $ 3.6 billion, according to an American Express report.

Nearly 300 companies are listed to date in the CEI directory. Companies listed in the directory can be searched by geography, industry or keyword. Any business headquartered in Maine that is also at least 50% owned by women can register.

Guerrette said they started working on the project in the spring, but didn’t launch it until late fall.

According to the American Express State of Women-Owned Business Report, women make up 42% of all businesses in the United States. However, there is a significant disparity between these companies and the others.

The report also states that around 88% of women-owned businesses never have gross sales of more than $ 100,000 per year, and around 62% of women entrepreneurs rely on their business as their primary source of income. .

Guerette said that one of the main challenges women often face is accessing the capital and funds they need to start or grow their business.

She said one of the things they are hoping for is that the Business Listing becomes a place for women entrepreneurs to connect to do business, learn, and cross-market their businesses with each other.

Hilary Crowell, owner of Cultivated Thread, a small batch weaving studio in Bath whose company is listed in the Women’s Business directory, said she was thrilled to be a part of it.

“As the directory gains the attention of the public, I’m sure it will direct business to my website,” Crowell said. I’m on another directory, Maine Made, and have gained many retail and wholesale clients. “I am convinced that the Women’s Business directory will benefit my business by increasing its visibility with clients. “

For more details on the business listing, visit

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