Supporting and Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs
Thursday, October 11, 2018
October is National Women’s Small Business Month. It’s an opportune time to recognize and celebrate female entrepreneurs and their impact on our economy.
Amy Bailey is a prime example of a young local woman who has been building her business, A. Bailey Creative, with the help of resources in Yankton.
She designs a range of graphic materials for clients, from printed and digital marketing pieces to logo and branding design. She also provides services like email marketing and website design.
Bailey studied graphic design at Mount Marty College and later worked in its marketing department. While working at the college, she took on additional design work for clients on the side, working nights and weekends.
Eventually, Bailey realized there was enough demand for such services to venture out on her own. Two years ago, she quit her job, got a business license and started freelancing. She credits the South Dakota Small Business Development Center, the local SCORE office and experienced area entrepreneurs for their assistance in developing her business.
Bailey has found Yankton to be a welcoming community and believes it’s just the right size to support small businesses. “There are opportunities for new businesses that don’t exist yet. It’s at that sweet spot in the middle where it’s not too small and it’s not too big to have too much competition,” she says.
This past summer, Bailey was awarded an Onward Yankton Entrepreneurship Fellowship, along with six other young entrepreneurs. The fellowship included a stipend and mentoring by area professionals. She notes that the experience helped her network with others, build relationships and learn about business resources.
Bailey also works part-time for the Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau as their digital media specialist. While she loves taking on projects herself and working one-on-one with A. Bailey Creative clients, she also enjoys being part of the fast-moving, challenging and dynamic Chamber/CVB team. She feels blessed to get the best of both worlds.
Bailey and her husband are avid volunteers, intent on giving back to the community when they are able. She has devoted energy to community organizations such as Keep Yankton Beautiful, the Yankton Morning Optimist Club and the entrepreneurial-minded efforts of 1 Million Cups – Yankton.
A collaborative space for co-working
Bailey has also been instrumental to the evolution of Yankton’s co-working space. She initially used the space to build her business. “It was helpful to have the Sandbox to work out of,” she says. “It gave me the opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people, collaborate and broaden my network.”
When the Sandbox was in the process of closing, Bailey and her friend Ashley Wagner got together to brainstorm about how to reimagine the space and make it sustainable. Together with Onward Yankton, a nonprofit that encourages entrepreneurship and owns the building, they refined the co-working concept and are serving as volunteer managers of the newly rebranded and renovated space, called “The Mo.”
The space has been upgraded to make it more user-friendly. Two private offices are available for rent to help generate income for The Mo. Members needing quiet space and privacy can access two smaller rooms for phone calls or webinars. A bathroom was updated to be ADA compliant.
Additional improvements will be made as more memberships come in and funds are available, according to Bailey, including further partitioning the space and adding sound proofing. The Mo is currently being used a few regulars. Some own their own businesses and some telecommute for work with larger companies.
The space is designed for anyone who needs a separate work environment and especially for entrepreneurs looking for resources and a supportive atmosphere. Bailey notes that it’s a work in progress and anticipates adding programming and resources in the future. “We’re open to adjusting and morphing to meet members’ needs,” she says.
Growth is dependent on memberships and community support. Member fees are used to pay utilities and make needed improvements. The Mo is also looking for community partners who want to support its mission with donations and sponsorships.
Bailey points out that having a space like The Mo is valuable for the community because it can be a draw for new residents and a selling point for larger employers. “A space like this can help attract young families to town and keep them here,” she says.