This month at 3 Steps to StartUp, we want to take the time to recognize the progress that West Virginia women-owned businesses are making in our communities. In December of 2020, West Virginia ranked 11th for its percentage of women-owned businesses!
At 3 Steps to StartUp, we are proud to recognize the hard work and promising futures for two women-owned startup companies here in West Virginia. Below, learn about these local, women-owned businesses and our involvement in their successes.
Reid Miller is the founder and CEO of her self-named apparel line, which makes high-quality, classic wardrobe staples for the professional woman, custom-fit to each client. With support from the Bluefield manufacturing technology incubator, CART Inc., Reid Miller is incorporating the latest in digital pattern adaptation, cutting and client measurement technologies to create efficiencies and precision throughout the production process. Products are sold directly to consumers at reidmiller.us. This business model provides a higher value product to women, which enables her company to pay fair wages to local seamstresses. While also utilizing high-quality fabrics and sewing techniques that are more commonly reserved for menswear.
Reid is building a womenswear manufacturing company that is part fine sewing workshop and part laboratory to improve the fit of women’s garments, create opportunity in the community, and provide top quality, tailored garments for women. This fall, Reid Miller is conducting a proof of concept with the 100 Blouses Project. The event will produce 100 custom-fitting women’s blouses to demonstrate the promise of using made-to-measure womenswear as an engine to bring apparel jobs back to smalltown America. By the Spring of 2021, Reid Miller had completed a digitally adaptable pattern for the 100 Blouses Project. On September 30th, Reid Miller will launch their first apprenticeship program to train two home sewers to produce high-quality womenswear. In October, the team will open up their first limited edition Women’s Workshirt sales to supporters interested in contributing to the first round of custom-fitting blouses.
3-Steps to Start-up Business Coach, Todd Crump has provided strategic financial guidance for the company, willing to roll up his sleeves with long sessions spent deep in the numbers to prepare for the 100 Blouses Project. In addition, the 3-Steps to Start-up team made critical introductions to help secure funding to assist with the cost of the apprenticeship program. For example, 3 Steps connected Reid Miller to the West Virginia Governor’s Guarantee Work Force Training Program.
Endolumik is a women-founded, women-led seed-stage surgical device company hoping to advance the standard of care in bariatric surgery. West Virginia University bariatric surgeon, Dr. Nova Szoka founded Endolumik, and she also serves as Chief Medical Officer. Mara McFadden serves as Chief Executive Officer.
The patent-pending surgical device behind Endolumik increases visualization for surgeons during bariatric surgery by utilizing fluorescence-guiding technology. By being able to see through the stomach and adipose tissue more clearly, surgeons can perform safer and more consistent gastrointestinal procedures. Never before have bariatric surgeons had the visibility that Endolumik’s device provides.
Endolumik recently received substantial recognition when their medical device won the SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Esophageal Surgeons) “Shark Tank” competition in Las Vegas. The encouragement from the sponsor, Varia Ventures, and a premier professional association including the eventual customers is both exciting and humbling.
3 Steps 2 StartUp has been integral to Endolumik’s progress so far. 3 Steps’ program connected the startup to its earliest investor. Afterward, 3 Steps continued to provide support and resources in the earliest stages of the company, inspiring gratitude from Endolumik.
Even with the strides that women starting businesses are making in West Virginia and across the country, there are still obstacles for startups founded by women. Nationwide, less than one in ten small business ventures that are successful in obtaining funding are women-owned. With the difficulties in attaining funding, virtual incubators like 3 Steps to StartUp can make all the difference for businesses battling this statistic. Success stories like Reid Miller and Endolumik prove that our commitment to West Virginia women-owned startups is working. If you have a startup idea but you’re not sure how to make it a reality, connect with us! We make small business success in West Virginia our mission.
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