Fresno Women's Network: Celebrating 35 years of supporting women

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Every month, female business owners get together to grow their network, build relationships and connect with mentors.

They're all part of the Fresno Women's Network.

Since 1987, the organization has been providing support for female business owners in the Central Valley.

"In the early 80s, rotary clubs locally and nationally only allowed men to join. So in the Fresno area, there was definitely a need for some type of community for women," says Nichola Peacock, President of the Fresno Women's Network.

The network has reached thousands since its start. Currently, there are 300 people involved in the network.

Alissa McFarland, Vice President of the Fresno Women's Network mentions, "I joined during the pandemic, I felt there was a need for connection. I hadn't had that in the past."

The female founders of the network had a goal in mind -- To support nonprofits and support each other.

Amy Mincer, Secretary of the Fresno Women's Network says, "I have gained so many different connections with different women in our community and learned about different businesses that I didn't know existed."

Female-led businesses faced different challenges less than 35 years ago.
Prior to the passing of The Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988, women could not take out a loan for their business without a male relative co-signer.

Nichola explains, "They didn't see the necessity to support women in business. I hear that now in my industry, 'Well, your husband will take care of you.' Well, I don't want my husband to take care of me. I want to take care of myself and I want to take care of my family."

For Nichola, she hopes to pave a path for her daughter.

"For her to be successful in business, to know that there are no limitations, she doesn't need to go to work for someone. There is no limit to what she can do."

To help young women succeed, the network provides annual scholarships to students heading to college.

Amy says, "It is so nice to see a lot of the applicants that have come in over the years, and everything they are doing for their community and what they are going to school for."

Creating a path and legacy for female leaders, through the next generation.
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