Nebraska’s Women Entrepreneurs: Stories of Success and Innovation

In the Spotlight: Some enterprising women entrepreneurs from Nebraska

#WomenInBusiness #NebraskaEntrepreneurs #WomenLeadership #YoungEntrepreneurs #BusinessInnovation #NebraskaWomen

Today, Nebraska is experiencing a dynamic shift in its business landscape. This is thanks to a new wave of enterprising women entrepreneurs! Historically renowned for its agricultural prowess, the state is now witnessing ambitious young women forging paths across various industries – reshaping the image of business ownership in Nebraska.

Recent data from the 2021 Nebraska Small Business Economic Profile highlights a prominent rise in new business ventures, driven by women under the age of 35; and they are outpacing their male counterparts in both pace and growth, thus pointing to a noteworthy departure from traditional business norms. According to the American Express 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, the number of women-owned enterprises in Nebraska grew by a remarkable 57.8% between 2014 and 2019, far exceeding the national average of 21%. This surge illustrates that women entrepreneurs are thriving in the ‘Cornhusker State’.

Moreover, the economic impact of these enterprises is substantial. Income generated by women-owned businesses in Nebraska rose by 30.6% during the same period, with sales increasing from $4.4 billion in 2014 to $5.8 billion in 2019. This growth emphasizes the significant contribution of women-owned businesses to the state’s economy.

Technology plays a pivotal role in this transformation – enabling women to launch and grow businesses from virtually anywhere, including rural areas. With internet access, a laptop, and a unique idea, young women entrepreneurs in Nebraska are building successful ventures from the comfort of their homes!

These enterprising women are not just creating businesses, but they are leveraging local resources for mentorship, networking and funding – to ensure their ventures succeed. As Nebraska continues to support and foster this entrepreneurial spirit, the state is all set to benefit from the innovative and economic contributions of its women entrepreneurs.

Let us take a look at some enterprising women entrepreneurs from Nebraska.

> Beth McKeon, Founder, Kids Calendar

Beth McKeon is an entrepreneur, adventurer, and creative person. As a start-up founder, she has learned to code, design and run sales & marketing experiments too.

With her start up, Kids Calendar, she participated in the first cohort of the Iowa Start – up Accelerator in Cedar Rapids in 2014. Kids Calendar is an innovative company that produces monthly, colourful calendars for children; and the calendars are designed to be engaging and fun, featuring holidays, events, and activities that kids will love. Her background in education and art has helped her create a unique product that is both educational and visually appealing too. And, Kids Calendar has become a popular choice for families – looking for a fun, interactive way to keep their kids engaged and organized.

Kids Calendar was also named 2016 Kansas Emerging Business of the Year by the Kansas Legislature.

> Sarah Peter, Co-Owner, Cafe Botanica

Sarah Peter is an experienced Founder, backed by a rich history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. She is a strong business development professional skilled in Sales, Film Production, Television, Fashion, and Online Marketing.

Cafe Botanica caters to customers in Lincoln and Omaha. They are proud to offer a locally sourced, curated menu with lower prices while continuing to serve our community with healthy food and drink options.

Their menu features an attractive range. Customers give special attention to their beneficial superfoods for additional nutritional value; and they also provide take-out, catering, dine-in and delivery.

> Jennifer Witherby, Owner, 3 Daughters Boutique

3 Daughters Boutique, owned by Jennifer Witherby is as premier destination for women’s clothing and unique gifts in Lincoln, Nebraska. Their story began with the dream of creating a space that embraces the essence of community and empowerment. More than just a boutique, they are a distinct haven for generations of women to connect, support and shop together.

At 3DB, their mission is simple yet impactful – to help women of all ages recognize the beauty within themselves. They believe that every woman deserves to feel confident and fabulous, one outfit at a time, because when you look good, you feel good! Moreover, that radiance is contagious.

> Jodie McGill, Founder, McGill Law

Jodie McGill is very passionate about supporting women and others, who strive for independence, diversity and recognition. And her company does it efficiently. Her rich training and experience in Collaborative Divorce are unique in the state of Nebraska. Since 2011, she has helped families reach amicable, swift, and peaceful resolutions to their legal issues.

It was in 2011, that she founded McGill Law and expanded too. McGill Law now has offices in Lincoln and Bellevue, as well as Omaha. They specialize in family law issues including divorce, modifications, adoptions, estate planning, and guardianships. McGill Law legal services include – collaborative law, collaborative mediation, mediation, and litigation.

> Shannon Schultz-Hammerschmidt, Founder of Nebraska LTC Pharmacy

Shannon Schultz-Hammerschmidt is the Founder of Nebraska LTC Pharmacy. She has spent her entire life in Nebraska and has worked in different pharmacy environments, before setting up Nebraska LTC Pharmacy.

At Nebraska LTC Pharmacy, she points out that “everything is about YOU”. They are a locally owned ‘concierge’ pharmacy that specializes in compliance and adherence as well as simplifying the medication process – from start to finish. Their attention to every little detail decreases hospitalizations while prolonging the patients’ independence, by keeping them at home. They offers include – free in-home consultation, free blister packaging of medications & free delivery too.

> Megan Leikam, Owner & Executive Director at Associates in Counseling & Treatment

It was in January 2020 that Megan Leikam took over ownership and the Executive Director role at Associates in Counseling & Treatment. She is highly qualified. She has her alcohol and drug license, certified gambling license, and is certified as a domestic violence counselor. She strongly believes that good mental health is essential for the well-being of individuals of all ages.

Besides her duties as Executive Director, she serves the Lincoln community also – by conducting substance abuse evaluations, facilitating group, individual and family counseling sessions, and strives to resolve the mental health, domestic violence, gambling, and substance use issues that affect our community in a caring, compassionate, and confidential manner.

> Naomi Bargen & Maggie Harms, Co-founders of Woven Willow Picnic Co

Naomi Bargen and Maggie Harms, Co-founders of Woven Willow Picnic Co, which they set up on July 1, 2020. That was when they made their vision come to life! It was when they got to see their first clients experience a picnic, at their favourite location in a quiet and intimate location, right by a little pond at Pioneers Park.

They wanted to bring something new to Lincoln, a way for people to go out and enjoy something beyond their daily lives. So, they thought of ‘picnics’! What is a ‘luxury picnic’? It is a mixture between an aesthetically-curated experience mixed with a natural and earthy setting, where each client gets to enjoy the ambience of the picnic with their loved one. They also include games and a charcuterie board – so that their clients are able to do something other than check their phones! And, this gives them an opportunity to really ‘unplug’ from the real

Interestingly, the ‘sunset picnic’ for two experience includes – 1.5 hours with a table, pillow seating, followed by a tablescape setting. Currently, besides picnics, they also set up proposals, bridal showers & birthday parties.

What Woven Willow Picnic Co. does is that it focuses on creating a new memorable and enjoyable experience for those in the Lincoln community, as well as surrounding locations.

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