Little did members of the San Antonio Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners® know that what started as a one-day conference to mentor high school teen women would become a six-month program. In 1999, Lynn Weirich and Dixie Kingston, both past NAWBO Presidents and founders of the San Antonio Chapter, launched the entrepreneurial conference “Entrepreneurial Connections”.
In the first year of the program, Chapter members realized they wanted the high school teens and school staff to experience more than just the one-day conference. Through her mentoring experience Lynn Weirich also saw a need to open students’ minds to entrepreneurship possibilities. The idea was to bring young teen women together with women business owners through fun, interactive events known as Business Connections, through mentoring sessions with the teens at their schools and through a venue whereby the teens could earn college scholarships. From a pilot program developed at Business Careers High School over 15 years ago, Chapter members have remained committed to growing the Entrepreneurial Connections® program.
Since the program began, over 2,100 freshmen through senior high school teen women from nearly thirty different schools have participated. Students have received over $258,000 in college scholarships and awards such as entrepreneur camp tuition, computers, printers and other items. The majority of the students come from diverse ethnic backgrounds, attend schools that are in the enterprise zone of San Antonio, and are considered part of an under-served, high-need population.