Coaches hope to 'Catapult' women into business

Female entrepreneurs may just need a little coaching in order to launch their own businesses and fulfill the dream of becoming their own boss.

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By ROBERT FELTON

The largest sector of entrepreneurial growth in Illinois is women who have dreamed of being their own boss and owning their own business. However, many of these women embark on this challenging venture without the full-range of business savvy required to run their business or hire the necessary help to fill all the gaps.

In order to fill this need, two Chicago area business coaches, Camille Baxter and Glory Borgeson, created a community service program, "The Catapult Project: Helping Women Launch New Ventures in Business."

"I think the primary reason women lack the savvy going into a business venture is that oftentimes women are given a one-sided view of the business worldâ€"generally the positive sideâ€"by their advisors, so when they embark on their inevitably uphill journey, they are unprepared for the many problems that spring up," said Borgeson, "especially women with children, who will find it difficult to balance their home lives with their job lives unless thoroughly prepared."

Five women were selected to participate in the 6-month program at no cost to them, which is designed to help entrepreneurial-minded women reach their goal of succeeding in a competitive business world.

The Catapult Project sought women who were either ready to start, or had recently started a new business, who were ambitious, but for whom resources were not abundant and hiring a consultant or business coach was not a financial possibility.

Baxter and Borgeson looked for women throughout the Chicago area who were coachable and open to learning new things. They needed to be willing to enhance their leadership ability and take a realistic approach to business and prove able to make a commitment to the 6-month program from September 2004 through the end of March 2005.

"The vision of this project came to my mind in February, 2004. I wanted another business coach to work with me on it, one whose background and skills completed mine. I immediately thought of Camille and contacted her to discuss the project," said Borgeson. "Together we bring to the table our diverse backgrounds, the ability to train and coach others through the obstacles they are likely to face."

"As coaches we have encountered many entrepreneurial-minded women with great ideas but lacking the confidence, fortitude or resources to make them a reality. We want to use Catapult to help women build a solid plan for success so that they can enjoy the joys, and not just experience the headaches, of being and entrepreneur," said Baxter.

Borgeson's business, Borgeson Consulting, Inc., is located in Wheaton, while Baxter's business, Impact Coaching & Consulting, Inc., is located in Oak Park. At their respective businesses, their clientele usually consists of directors and vice presidents of companies, which has helped turn them into experienced business advisers.

The five women participating in Catapult are perfecting their business skills through the program, which is currently in its inaugural season; they studied a variety of topics, including business preparation, communications and relationship-building, networking, referrals, and building contacts. They generally meet every other Saturday of the month; however, they also individually coach the participants through their own particular business challenges.

"We're excited about this group of women and look forward to their accomplishments throughout the project. They've already begun to make incredible progress in areas they had not considered before they were a part of Catapult," notes Borgeson.

Borgeson and Baxter are hoping to begin planning next fall's program late this March so that it can start in September.

For more information, to set up an interview, and/or visit a Catapult session, contact Glory Borgeson at 630/653-0992.

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