By Aubreyonna Van Hoose
Empowerment. Promotion. Community. These are the aims of HerHub, a newly-launched online community of local women-owned businesses by Women of Toledo.
HerHub seeks to help women promote their business by networking and collaborating with a diverse group of entrepreneurs.
“Its mission is to empower women through economic development, increased visibility, and increasing network,” said Jonelle Massey, Board Liaison of HerHub. She further emphasized the need for an easily accessible, one-space directory for all women-owned businesses and organizations in Toledo.
In 2017, Nina Corder, Managing Director of HerHub, submitted a proposal to build an organizational hub for women. According to Corder, that proposal became one of twelve projects to receive a fellowship under the UN Women’s Empower Women Champions for Change Partner.
After tinkering with the idea through various focus groups, market research and a pilot program, HerHub re-launched this May. The website features a directory and map where consumers can locate women-owned businesses, services, authors, and organizations within the greater Toledo area.
“I think HerHub does a good job in including all kinds of businesses— we have diversity in categories of businesses, but also interracial makeup,” said Massey. She also mentioned the directory is diverse in experience and features everything from start-up businesses to seasoned entrepreneurs.
Businesses must have a HerHub membership to appear on the directory. The yearly membership is $99, and companies can apply for $300 yearly partnerships. “We do talk a lot about the membership, but the way you look at it is more like an investment… for you, and an investment for your business,” said Massey.
Membership also gives access to the “Mastermind” Facebook private group, which allows businesses to network at a more intimate level, whether for professional or personal business advice.
According to Massey, HerHub’s donations go towards helping businesses, specifically towards a HerHub scholarship fund. Any businesses that can’t pay their yearly membership fee can apply for the HerHub scholarship on their website.
While the HerHub website promotes itself as a “Women of Toledo initiative,” Massey also highlighted the community’s outreach, encouraging support from all— not just women.
The non-profit organization also works with volunteers and specifically looks for people who offer particular expertise within marketing or public relations. “We are coming up with creative ideas. We could use volunteers for helping out with an idea or initiative that we come up with to help businesses generate more profit,” Massey said.
HerHub continues to promote women empowered events and businesses, even throughout the pandemic. “We do have that core mission, that’s bigger than us that we really want to help with the local economy,” said Nina Corder.
Corder and Massey both made it clear they want to work with businesses to increase their revenue and sustainability. “We can give grant money and scholarships all day long, but at the same time, we want to be able to work with the network… we want to fight with the women-owned businesses,” said Corder.
For more information about HerHub or to apply for a membership, the website is 419herhub.org. Also, you can follow HerHub on Instagram at 419herhub and on Facebook on the “HerHub” public page.