WREN Small Business Empowerment Summit

The Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network and the U.S. Small Business Administration New Hampshire District Office present the 2024 Small Business Empowerment Summit!

Who Should Attend: Current or future small business owners looking to start, grow or take your business to the next level

Learn about the tools and strategies that can help you create a strong foundation for creating or growing your business for the long haul!

This interactive program provides emerging entrepreneurs and small business owners an opportunity to identify, examine, and discuss the factors that influence the long-term sustainability of their business. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet with business professionals and ask specific questions about their business or business idea, as well as network with other entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Get inspired and build powerful connections at the Small Business Empowerment Summit!

$20 per ticket, $10 for WREN Members and CDBG grant recipients are free. If you are a WREN member or CDBG grant recipient, contact Julia at juliab@wrenworks.org for the promo code. Become a member today!

Registration includes continental breakfast and lunch!

Small Business Empowerment Summit
Wednesday, March 27

8:30 AM-3:00 PM

at the AMC Highland Center
Crawford Notch, NH

Purchase tickets


8:30-9:00 AM – Arrive at the AMC Highland Center

Enjoy a continental breakfast and meet other attendees.

9:00-9:15 AM – Welcome

Opening remarks from Pamela Sullivan, Executive Director of WREN, Theresa Pinto, Business Development Specialist at the US Small Business Administration NH District Office, and Michael Licata, Director of Government Affairs & Community Relations at Eversource.

9:15-10:00 AM – Laying the Foundation

Mary Secor will discuss common transitions for businesses, guide participants through worksheet exercises, and facilitate table discussions around key building blocks for businesses.

10:00 – 10:10 AM – Break

10:10 – 10:55 AM – Pricing and Branding Strategies

NH Small Business Development Center North Country Business Advisor Kyla Brustin will help participants explore strategies and approaches regarding effective pricing strategies for wholesale and retail, expanding branding, effectively connecting with customers, and identifying opportunities to grow into new markets and develop new partnerships. Kyla will introduce Hailee Hampton, the owner and designer of All Hail Designs. Hailee started her company with 100 hats in 2021, and after a lot of bootstrapping from order to order, she now sells her products online, in 25+ wholesale locations, and takes part in a variety of vending events both locally and beyond.

11:00 – 11:50 AM – Marketing and Finding Your Ideal Customer

Hayes Miller from NH SCORE will describe key marketing strategies targeted to your ideal customer, ways to fund a marketing budget, and ways to utilize partnerships to leverage outcomes.

11:50 – 12:45 PM – Lunch

12:45 – 1:30 PM – Bootstrapping Your Business

Dr. Douglas Arion will facilitate this interactive session on strategies for bootstrapping your business. Topics include doing more with: ambassadors and cross promotion, your customers, your story, and your finances. Participants will brainstorm to identify and share strategies to bootstrap their businesses.

1:30 – 2:00 PM – Closing Presentation

Michelle Cruz will present closing remarks. Participants will have time to reflect and answer worksheet questions to help them identify next steps for their businesses.

2:00 – 3:00 PM – 1:1 Sessions: Ask the Experts

Participants will have the opportunity to meet 1:1 with business advisors from SBDC, SCORE, and CWE.

The Small Business Empowerment Summit is made possible by a donation from Eversource and is funded in part by Granite United Way.

Meet Our Presenters

Mary Secor has over twenty years of experience developing and delivering education programs and workshops for academic, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations. She has presented her work at regional and national conferences and co-authored articles on models and curricular approaches for developing and delivering collegiate entrepreneurship programs. Ms. Secor moved to Bethlehem, New Hampshire in 2018. She served on WREN’s Board of Directors, teaches classes, and provides 1:1 advising to WREN members.

Kyla Brustin serves as the North & Central NH SBDC Regional Director. Kyla spent a year as an SBDC business advisor for clients in Carroll and Coos Counties. As Regional Director, she is proud to play a role in helping the economy of the White Mountains by strengthening the local business community and working with economic development partners.

Kyla has spent her entire career growing small businesses. Starting in the real estate industry as a salesperson, Kyla worked her way up to partner, a position which she held until 2023. In addition to real estate sales, Kyla launched her own vacation rental management company, which she grew over several years and recently sold to a large national brand. Kyla received her MBA from Endicott College.

Outside the office, you can find Kyla hiking, skiing or running in the White Mountain National Forest or working in her garden.

Hailee Hampton is the owner and designer of All Hail Designs, which is a hat company based out of her hometown Littleton, NH. Hailee studied fashion design in NYC, and the stark change of city life made her that much more inspired by natural landscapes. That’s what led her to combine her love of design and mountain life into a bag company…which then evolved into a hat company! Hailee started with 100 hats in 2021, and after a lot of bootstrapping from order to order, she now sells her products online, in 25+ wholesale locations, and takes part in a variety of vending events both locally and beyond!

Hayes Miller volunteers for SCORE in the Granite Region, based out of the Mount Washington Valley. He helps new and existing businesses with advice on structure, financing, operations and marketing. He particularly likes working with clients in northern New Hampshire as they start and grow their businesses.

Hayes spent 36 years in the institutional investment industry, the last 24 managing global portfolios for Baring Asset Management in Boston. His specialty was quantitative techniques for managing global stock portfolios and asset allocation. Although the object of analysis was large companies, so many of the issues faced by large corporations are similar to those of small companies – cash flow, debt management, capital structure, marketing and sales, taxes, etc.

Hayes graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Political Science and holds a MS in Banking and Financial Management from Boston University. He held a Chartered Financial Analyst charter throughout his career. He retired in 2016, and moved full time to Glen, NH in 2020. He in a Board member of Way Station, the only entity in Carroll County devoted to assisting the homeless. He loves golf, skiing, and bicycling. He and his wife, Cathy, have three adult children.

Douglas Arion, PhD is Donald D. Hedberg Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at Carthage College. He founded the ScienceWorks entrepreneurial studies program, and has been actively engaged in business strategy, technology development, and economic development and planning. He has served on many grant and conference review panels, and conducted workshops on innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and career development in many locations in the US and Canada, as well as in Brazil and South Africa. Arion is a member of the US Economic Development Agency Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy group for northern New Hampshire. He received his AB in physics from Dartmouth College, and MS and PhD degrees from the University of Maryland.

Michelle Cruz joined the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in 2017 overseeing events and community relations. Her dedication and passion for her work and interest in supporting the Mt. Washington Valley business and community members led her to become the Executive Director in July 2022. The MWV Chamber strategically markets the Mt. Washington Valley as a premier and vibrant New England vacation destination by enticing tourists with our year-round attractions and natural resources. This fosters a business climate that promotes growth, collaboration, and benefits in member communities, while protecting the area’s natural beauty.