Chatham News

Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship launches online business development and mentoring community

Membership in the virtual learning community allows businesswomen to access customized programs on their own time

By: Amanda Leff Ritchie, Senior Public Relations Specialist
November 28, 2011 

PITTSBURGH (November 28, 2011)… On Dec. 1, the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship (CWE) at Chatham University will launch CWE ConnectSM, an online business development and mentoring community for women in the Pittsburgh and surrounding counties.

“We developed this online membership-based business community to help women both grow their businesses and network with each other,” says Rebecca Harris, director of the CWE. “I like to think of it as a virtual golf course where great women get together, interact, and get business done in the comfort of their own homes or offices.”

Membership in the virtual learning community costs $150 per year and provides access to customized entrepreneurship programs, among other such benefits as networking and marketing opportunities, discounted admission to CWE events, personalized advice from regional experts, and access to an ever-growing online business library. More information about each membership benefit follows below.

Networking & Partnerships
Members will have the opportunity to connect with local business owners to share experiences and advice. Exclusive access to a virtual bulletin board allows members to post referrals, sales, opportunities to partner with other business owners, and more.

Members’ businesses will benefit from free advertising and being featured on the CWE Chatham website and CWE Connect brochures and newsletters.

Ask-the-Business Expert & Peer-to-Peer Mentoring
Members can ask local and regional experts questions online and gain valuable tips and advice from handpicked experts. Members will have access to our group-mentoring program facilitated through online discussions where they exchange concerns, ideas, and receive advice and solutions from fellow members.

Business Skills Development & Education
Members will have up-to-date online documents, videos, and presentations that contain small business tips and tools at their fingertips, along with free access to award-winning Kauffman FastTrac entrepreneurial training programs. Recordings of past CWE programs and events, including our popular Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series, Small Business Basics Workshops, Business & Law Seminars, and Business & Finance Seminars, are also available to members.

Other Benefits for Members
CWE Connect members will have access to four exclusive networking events throughout the year. Members will also receive discounts to special CWE events. A 40 percent discount on admission to the Women Business Leaders Breakfast Series, a monthly series that features prominent regional businesswomen, and a 20 percent discount on admission to the 7th Annual Think Big Forum, which addresses issues of importance to the women business community and provides networking opportunities with some of the region’s top businesswomen.

A one-on-one six-month mentoring opportunity is available with a $100 membership upgrade. In this 6-month program, members are matched with handpicked mentors. This self-paced program includes online discussions and optional face-to-face meetings. Registration for the CWE Connect one-on-one Mentoring Program closes April 1, 2012; mentoring programs will start June 1, 2012.

Funded in part by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, CWE Connect is proud to be working in partnership with the Progress Fund, the Trail Town Program, and the Laurel Highlands Visitor’s Bureau to bring CWE Connect to businesses in Southwestern PA. Additional support for CWE Connect has been provided by the Alcoa Foundation.

The CWE at Chatham is hosting two free public open houses next month: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Eden Hall Campus, 6035 Ridge Road, Gibsonia; and 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the Mellon Board Room on Chatham’s Shadyside Campus. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the Center’s staff, facilitators, and past participants while learning about the CWE’s services for women business owners and women in business. The open houses will discuss CWE Connect, in addition to business development classes, small business workshops, and women’s leadership breakfasts. CWE has programs for women in all stages of business development. To attend, register online at

About the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
The mission of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University is to educate, create economic opportunities, and foster entrepreneurial thinking for women entrepreneurs, women in business, and students. The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs in both new development and growth stages of their businesses to start, develop and significantly grow their companies by utilizing Chatham resources, programs, faculty expertise, and student assistance. CWE also provides programming targeted to local and regional women in business designed to teach women in business how to think and act entrepreneurially by focusing on innovation and creativity within the context of an existing organizational environment. Current and initial funding for CWE provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.  Initial funding for CWE was provided by the Lois Tack Thompson Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. For more information about programs offered by CWE call 412-365-1253 or visit

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information, call 800-837-1290 or visit

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