Veterans celebrated at women’s entrepreneurship conference in Philly

Women's Entrepreneurship Day conference organizer Elisa Bloom speaks to attendees in Philadelphia Monday. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Women's Entrepreneurship Day conference organizer Elisa Bloom speaks to attendees in Philadelphia Monday. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A conference designed to help women who want to start or expand their businesses puts women veterans in the spotlight in Philadelphia.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Day conference is honoring the owner of a Norristown early childhood education center, the founder of a soldier-themed tea company in central Pennsylvania and a female vet who started a fitness center in King of Prussia.

Kym Ramsey developed and manages an early childhood development center with more than 20 employees in Norristown. She started it after working at a franchise preschool operation. Her military career took her to South Korea among other locations, where she was in command of a division with 1,700 soldiers.

Rhonda Smith created the Skirted Soldier of Blue Knob, Pennsylvania, a company that sells hand-blended loose tea and hires veterans to do the work. Her company donates 10 percent of proceeds to female veteran organizations. She started the business after serving in the Air Force.

Erica Webster is the founder and CEO of Dub Fitness, a women’s fitness center located in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the center, Webster consults with local businesses on employee health and wellness, women’s empowerment in the workplace, and leadership development. She served in the Army, including in the military police.

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day conference organizer Elisa Bloom says more and more women are starting a business or creating a part time endeavor they can do in addition to their full-time position.

“We want women to feel inspired and also supported. When you are starting a business there is so much everyone needs to launch and we want women to not feel alone and not to feel that they have to do everything by themselves,” she said.

The entrepreneurship forum has expanded to 144 countries. They hope it’s a great place where women starting or running a business can connect with a mentor.

The group has also donated to various women’s causes internationally including education for women in impoverished situations.

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