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International Women's Day: Why starting a business was harder before 1988 in the U.S.

Nearly 200 women business owners celebrated their success in Colorado Springs
Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-08 23:15:04-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Nearly 200 women business owners came together in Colorado Springs to celebrate their success Friday. The event's attendance nearly doubled from the first one last year.

"Everybody thinks it was easy and it just came naturally, it was determination and persistence and believing in each other to help us get through it," said co-owner of the Garden of the Gods Resort & Club, Judy Mackey.

For Mackey, a small business loan was the reason she was able to launch her dream in 2013.

Women couldn't even apply for a business loan on their own in the U.S. until 1988.

"We've come a long way, I've had two other companies and it's been amazing just to see the changes for women," said Mackey.

"It's a little bit crazy to think that that wasn't that long ago," said the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce president, Johnna Reeder Kleymeyer.

The Southern's Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce president, Lola Woloch, said the number of members has more than tripled since she started in 2015.

"If [women] don't find that opportunity to get promoted at a corporation or business, they're problem-solvers so they wind up taking opportunity into their own hands," said Woloch.

Woloch said within the last month, 19 women have become business owners in El Paso, Teller and Pueblo Counties.

"Girls need to know that when they come out of school, they can do anything that they set their mind to," said Woloch.

Kleymeyer said the success of women-owned business contributes to the success the city of Colorado Springs.

"This is how we pay for our roads and have good quality schools, this is how we have great quality jobs to build generational wealth for the future," said Kleymeyer.

The women learned how to build their businesses and mentor those just starting out.

"This community embraces women more than other communities which I thought was a beautiful comment that was made by somebody who just moved here," said Mackey.

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