About Allied Women Entrepreneurs
What is AWE?
Allied Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our mission is to empower women to reach their professional goals as entrepreneurs through education, networking, mentoring, and business development. We hold regular monthly meetings, offer a variety of business workshops and activities throughout the year, and have a scholarship program for women entrepreneurs who would like to improve their business skills – and that is just the start! Check out our membership page for details on membership levels.
How was AWE created?
Allied Women Entrepreneurs formed from a group of five businesswomen who had a common vision of creating a support system for new and established women-owned businesses, at a low cost. The great thing about AWE is the detailed planning and organization the founders did to establish AWE as a top-notch organization from day one. From the formation of AWE’s bylaws to membership details and branding, each founding board member had an equal say in the vision and creation of our organization. AWE is set up to thrive for years to come! For more information, read our history or learn more about AWE’s founders here.
Do board members pay membership fees?
Yes! All board members are required to be voting members at the Allied Entrepreneur membership level, which requires a financial contribution to AWE. The founding board members each chose to become Allied Entrepreneur Members in order to start the organization with adequate funds. Board members are not offered any special membership prices or discounts; they receive all the same membership benefits as any other member in the level they choose to join.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, our board members are specifically prohibited from gaining personally or professionally as a result of their role on the board. Additional details about the policies governing AWE’s Board of Directors may be found in AWE’s official bylaws.
Can voting members attend board meetings too?
At this time, Board of Director’s meetings are not currently open to the public, although any voting member of AWE is welcome to contact the Board if she is interested in serving on a committee or has a matter which she feels should be addressed at a board meeting. There are currently open board seats, so if you would be interested in taking a larger role in the organization please reach out and let us know!
Will board meeting minutes be made public?
What do voting members get to vote on?
Voting members have the opportunity to participate in committees, facilitate events, nominate board members, and vote at AWE’s annual meeting, which takes place each spring. The topics presented to members for a vote will vary each year but may include things such as: meeting dates, budgetary approval, and Board of Directors elections.
Will members be able to see where funds are going?
Yes! As a 501(c)(3), it’s very important that the financial state of our organization be available to members and nonmembers of Allied Women Entrepreneurs. Our Treasurer makes a monthly report to the Board which is published in the board meeting minutes. Additionally, an annual report is presented to members at AWE’s annual meeting and anyone can ask to see a copy of our 990 IRS filing.
What does it cost to join AWE?
Allied Women Entrepreneurs offers membership at two levels: a $75/yr membership and a $150/yr membership. Each membership level offers different benefits. To choose the right membership for you, visit our membership page here.
What if I’m just starting out in my business?
AWE supports all women owned businesses, including those who are just looking to get started. You are welcome to attend any of our meetings or events prior to becoming a member. Some of our events are free, others, like our monthly AWE Connect meetings have a drop-in fee for non-members. One of our goals is to help support new businesses through mentorship, education, and networking.
I’ve been in business for 10 years, would a membership still benefit me?
Of course! We welcome business owners with all levels of experience. There are always new things to learn when it comes to business and new connections to make, and experienced business owners can gain much by supporting others. Experienced members will have opportunities to speak at meetings as a means of further establishing themselves as experts in their fields. Additionally, meeting topics will vary in focus and will be of interest to members of all experience levels.
I’m a (insert brand here) sales representative. Is AWE right for me?
All women entrepreneurs are welcome to join AWE, although our focus is on supporting women whose business needs expand beyond those of a direct sales consultant. Direct sales consultants may join AWE and attend our events, however many of our offerings focus on marketing, finance, and business management topics that are not relevant to an individual who sells products for a company and is not a business owner herself. It is also important to note that we have a strong no solicitation policy within our member code of conduct, and AWE events/relationships should not be seen as sales opportunities.
Will becoming an AWE member guarantee me customers? Can I market my business to AWE members?
Allied Women Entrepreneurs is not a sales-oriented networking or “leads” group. At AWE Connect events, there will be a designated location for attendees to place business cards for sharing, and members are always encouraged to talk about their business and what they do. You may gain exposure from attending events and meeting other women entrepreneurs, however please be aware that the main purpose of AWE is not marketing. We ask that all attendees keep in mind the Member Code of Conduct policy against soliciting businesses or causes to other AWE members or donors, which includes email, phone call, or social media posting or messaging unless approved by the Board of Directors.
What makes AWE different from other business groups?
One of the main things that sets Allied Women Entrepreneurs apart from other groups is that we aim to support women entrepreneurs in all industries and at all levels of establishment. This includes brick and mortar businesses, virtual and in-home businesses, mom-owned businesses, new businesses, and experienced professionals. We are not just a sales-focused networking group: our organization has a commitment to education and mentorship, and is focused on working cooperatively to help women build awe-inspiring businesses together. Another thing which sets us apart is that, as a 501(c)(3), we are not only organized in a true nonprofit fashion, without benefit or gain for our founders and board members, but we are also able to gain funding and support through grants and tax-deductible donations and sponsorships, which gives us the potential to do great things for our members and the community. One of these first great initiatives is our scholarship program for women entrepreneurs.
I love what you stand for, how can I become more involved as a member?
The first step to becoming involved is to join AWE. Allied Women Entrepreneurs has many different committees which help manage the day to day operations of AWE. If you have a skill or interest in serving on one of the committees, let us know. We also need AWE-inspiring mentors to share their expertise and encourage other members to reach their goals.
Can I join if I have a business but it’s in my husband’s name? What if I manage but don’t own a business?
We understand that there are many different business structures and many different definitions of “entrepreneur.” If you are an integral part of a business, whether registered in your name or not, we would be happy to include you in AWE.
Can I join if I’m out of state?
If you do business in the Northern Colorado area, but are located out of state (Hello, Wyoming!), you are welcome to join and attend our events if possible. Non-local members who are unable to attend regular meetings due to distance are considered “at-large members.” At-large members are granted access to our members only Facebook group, will have an online member profile, and may vote absentee at AWE’s annual meeting. If enough at-large members reside in a certain area a chapter may be created. (Information on starting a chapter is coming soon.)
How do I join?
Membership is an automated process through our website. You may join here. Payments are processed securely through PayPal or with credit card on our website. We offer annual or monthly payment plans.
Where are the meetings held?
Regular monthly AWE Connect meetings are held at Ace Gillett’s in Fort Collins, Colorado on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. Workshops are typically held at the Digital Workshop Center in Fort Collins, and social mixers are held at restaurants and bars throughout Northern Colorado. We will always make sure our meetings are held in a location that can comfortably house our members and speakers, so the location may change periodically to keep up with our growing organization.
Can I join even if I can’t make the meetings?
Yes, we understand that it’s not practical for all members to be able to attend meetings. AWE has a members-only Facebook Group, which will serve as a private place to talk all things business, so you can still get support if you cannot attend meetings. Minutes, and often videos, from our member meetings are posted on our blog, so if you miss a meeting you can still benefit from the information.
Will I have to pay for meetings?
Regular monthly AWE Connect meetings are $10 for non-members. Members at all levels may attend meetings for free. Attendees are encouraged to support the businesses where we host our meetings through the purchase of food or drinks, as a thank you for having us.
Why are the meetings held at night?
We have chosen to have our regular monthly AWE Connect meetings in the evenings so that those who run their businesses during the day will have an opportunity to participate. This also gives work-at-home mothers an opportunity to come child-free.
Can I bring children to meetings?
No, it’s best to leave children at home. Because we want our meetings to be as productive as possible, and to provide a respectful environment for our guest speakers, at this time we are requesting that AWE meetings and workshops be child free. Leave the kids at home with your partner or a sitter and come enjoy being in the company of other women professionals! Lap/nursing infants are welcome, but please be respectful of other members and speakers, stepping out of the room if necessary.
Will there be food or drink at the meetings?
Our meeting venues will have drink or food available for purchase if you choose. Choosing to purchase something is a great way to thank the venue for hosting us! If refreshments are included with an event or meeting it will be listed in the event details on our calendar.
Will you have a vendor fair?
As of right now, we do not have a AWE vendor fair planned. There are many great vendor fairs throughout the year across the Front Range and we feel that our members will be best served by participating in those fairs. We will do our best to keep AWE members up-to-date on local happenings and how/when to register for events.
Can I support AWE without becoming a member?
Yes! We have sponsorship opportunities for those who believe in our cause and would like to support us. Money from sponsors is used in a variety of ways including but not limited to paying speaker fees, covering the costs of marketing, supplying refreshments at events, keeping workshops and memberships low cost, funding our scholarship program, and assisting with other operational expenses. Learn more about sponsoring AWE here.
In addition, since we are a 501(c)(3) individuals and businesses who wish to support our cause may make a tax-deductible donation to AWE.
How can I get listed on your website?
Membership includes one profile listing in our public member directory. Non-member businesses who sponsor AWE at the Gold Sponsor level will have their logo in our website footer (visible on every page) for 12 months.