We are living in the time of the woman entrepreneur. She is building her future. She is making her way. She is marching forward into success. And while she can do anything she sets her mind to, she cannot and does not need to do it all alone.
There’s no greater power than that of community. Time and again, we have witnessed the power found in people. More beautiful yet, we have seen how opportunity grows when we find our people. Kim Bonner has seen this firsthand. A WE360 Program facilitator and coach, Kim connects South Florida’s women entrepreneurs with the tools and community they need to forge their future their way.
For more than a year, Kim has transformed WE360 participants as they travel through the program. Her infectious personality creates a comfortable environment for growth, and her proven leadership skills create trust in her students, though if you asked Kim, she’d likely call them sisters.
“Little did I know that by giving to these ladies, I had created this extended family…this extended sisterhood,” she shared in our interview. “And as much as I was giving them the expertise I’ve gained over the past 20 years of working with entrepreneurs and business owners, they were also giving to me.”
This sisterhood has proved an unforeseen blessing for the instructor, who relocated from DC and her 10-year career as a franchise developer to South Florida to care for her mother during the pandemic. Kim’s mother sadly passed following her move, but this newly created community has helped her process and rebuild in the wake of loss.
The positivity this space creates is critical to WE360 participants in both business and life. Kim notes this program is essential because it offers entrepreneurial-minded women something they often do not find elsewhere – the gift of feeling seen. She views this as especially important in a world where businesses and seminars idealize success as a male avatar (i.e., the Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world).
“WE360 creates a safe space where women in business feel seen, where their gifts are believed in,” Kim explained. “Business is a mind game, and this mentorship creates a circle of belief and leadership where everyone cheers each other on. You can do so much more when you have that community behind you.”
This group and the success of its members, Kim cites, are an inspiration to their greater South Florida community. More than a few program participants have successfully funded their ventures by winning in local, regional and national pitch competitions, thanks to Kim’s coaching. With black women, in particular, starting businesses at a higher rate than any other demographic, WE360 Program participants whose businesses become profitable are adding an economic boost to the neighborhoods they serve.
Her teachings (especially in pitching) have been vital in helping many program participants successfully fund their ventures by winning amounts in local, regional and national pitch competitions. Moving forward, Kim hopes that increased WE360 program funding and community support will only allow the WE360 to expand.
“With more funding, we can hire more teachers; we can have more cohorts; we can create a greater impact; we could put money in their hands to provide them with a decent start.”
The roots of entrepreneurship grow from women’s empowerment, so it is fitting as we start a new year and approach Women’s History Month to celebrate female entrepreneurs. Give to help create life-altering opportunities that help South Florida girls and women succeed on their terms. The more we support women entrepreneurs, the more we drive economic expansion, decrease unemployment, strengthen families and enhance communities.
With the bright futures Kim’s efforts and this program have championed, we’re striving to continue the impact. Thank you to this incredible instructor for all she has done to help uplift our community.
Visit us at ywcasouthflorida.org to register for our next cohort and learn more about the WE360 program and all our community initiatives.