WED Wisconsin

Why Women’s Entrepreneurship Day needs to happen in Wisconsin

Published on July 20, 2017

Early in 1989, I met Mark Deadman. Mark’s family owned The Chocolate Shoppe ice cream stores. Mark was my night school Consumer Behavior professor. Mark was also the first person to tell me I should start my own business. I went to the library and got 21 books on how to start my own business – and then I started a business. I started it at my kitchen table at the age of 21 with a telephone and a Mac Plus computer and more determination and grit within me than I even knew.

But something else happened even before Mark said I could do it, I worked for a female entrepreneur. She too had started her business when she was 21 years old. I had a role model, a mentor and a path so I thought – why not me? The funny thing is, last year in June, she and I both received significant lifetime achievement awards from the Governor of Wisconsin.

“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.” Melinda Gates

On November 14, 2017, you’re invited to join me and countless other women at the first ever Women’s Entrepreneurship Day event in Madison, Wisconsin. On this day, you will be inspired, equipped and changed. And you’ll be in good company.

Women now make up 40 percent of new entrepreneurs in the United States – the highest percentage since 1996, according to the 2016 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity.

The challenge is that we still are significantly under capitalized and the majority don’t have more than a few employees. Only 3 percent of women-owned firms in the U.S. have “high economic impact,” generating $500,000 or more in revenue, compared to 9 percent of male-owned firms, according to the 2016 State of Women Owned Businesses Report.


I spent most of the last year learning from the best of the best at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City and Babson College through the #10KSB program with Goldman Sachs. There are plenty of reasons why beginning with capital.

  • Men start their businesses with six times as much capital as women do, according to the most recent National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) Annual Report.
  • And yet, one analysis by Quantopian hedge-fund researcher Karen Rubin showed that women CEOs outperform peers three to one in the S&P 500, further developing the conversation over women driving top financial returns.
  • Businesses with a woman on the executive team are more likely to have significantly higher valuations at Series A–as in, 64 percent higher.

WEDWisconsin aims to empower, celebrate, inspire and support women and girls in business and technology. The mission is to alleviate poverty by empowering, celebrating and supporting women in business worldwide. There is no question that my life’s story has been different because I chose to start and grow a business.

Last year, I attended WED at the United Nations in New York City. At the podium were women pioneers including Mindy Grossman from Home Shopping Network, Kay Koplovitz with Springboard Enterprises and founder of USA Networks and Katia Beauchamp, CEO of Birch Box. They are working at the top of their fields and in most cases, they broke through significant barriers to get there.

Picture of Laura Gallagher TCC WED

Now as the WED Ambassador for Wisconsin, I invite you to celebrate the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 and be part of the movement.

You can be a delegate representing your area, be part of the advisory board, sponsor and attend. As this is the first annual entrepreneurship day, we need your ideas, inputs and connections to make it great!

We will be holding our Wisconsin event on Tuesday, November 14th and celebrating with our WED HQ at the United Nations on Friday, November 17th with gatherings around the globe organized by my fellow 150 ambassadors representing 144 countries.

We encourage women and men to join us and be inspired by stories of high-profile women in business and technology, and meet women-entrepreneurs who have thrived.

Please sign up at WEDWisconsin Register

Interested in being a part from the start as a sponsor, let’s talk! Here’s more information!WEDWisconsin Sponsorship and Advertising Information

Downtown Madison with Lake Monona with WED 2017 logo and TCC logo