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FocusME: Early Stage Business Peer Group (Wednesdays), Fall 2020 (8:30am start)

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The CEI Women’s Business Center and the Portland SCORE Chapter are collaborating to host FocusME, a series of peer groups for female entrepreneurs.

FocusME is a series of facilitated peer groups that provide a supportive network of other female business owners; a place to work on personal and professional growth, a sense of accountability, and an opportunity to learn from your peers’ experiences and expertise.

This fall we are offering four virtual cohorts: two early stage business peer groups and two growth stage business peer group. Once you’ve registered, we will contact you and ask you to complete a short questionnaire to help us learn more about your business. We will review your responses and contact you with any questions we might have. Please note that in order to ensure that both groups are filled with businesses that are non-competitive and in similar stages of growth the WBC will make the final recommendation with regards to participation for each group.


“FocusME helped me regain focus, set priorities, share common struggles and collaborate with a wonderful group of peers to strategize ideas for future resolution.”


Is the FocusME: Early Stage Business Peer Group right for you?

We are looking for women entrepreneurs who are committed to business and personal growth to join this group. In order to participate, you must have business revenue, and an active website. The Early Stage Business Peer Group is ideal for clients who are operating like a startup and continuing to develop a long term vision for their business. If you are working on defining your target market, establishing a customer base, identifying key measures for success, setting goals, learning how to manage your cash flow, developing policies and procedures and doing most things “for the first time” this group is likely a good fit for you.

How does it work? 

A group of smart, savvy, female entrepreneurs meet every two to three weeks for facilitated sessions focusing on business and personal growth. These sessions continue with a check-in every two months for the remainder of the year. The program will also include two networking events, and a yearly celebration where participants from past and current cohorts will come together. Participants lean on each other, give advice, share connections and experiences and form business relationships with each other if/when appropriate. You will be introduced to local resources that will help build your business and become connected to a broader network of services and fellow entrepreneurs.

Each session includes: 

  • A facilitated group discussion with a focus on personal development (topics include: goal setting, time management, pitching your business, prioritizing and time management) 
  • An opportunity to share business challenges and brainstorm solutions
  • A “my turn” time which allows each member of the group to share something you’re working on and look to the group for input and accountability.
  • Pairing of accountability partners to check-in with between sessions

Who Facilitates? 

The sessions will be facilitated by Leigh Tillman. Leigh works with groups facilitating decision-making, group processes, training and effective storytelling. As a female entrepreneur herself, Leigh is excited to team up with the CEI Women’s Business Center and SCORE to offer what we expect will prove to be a unique, rewarding, and candidly helpful series for all participants. You can learn more about her here.

When? 

The six initial sessions take place on Wednesdays in 2020. These dates include: October 28, November 4, November 11, November 18, December 2, and December 9. A snow date will be scheduled for January 13. The four follow-up “mile marker” session dates will be determined by the group. Upon registering, you are expected to attend each of the sessions.

Where will FocusME be held? 

This program will be held virtually via Zoom.

Please note: We are offering our Fall 2020 FocusME programs for free. While we typically charge for our FocusME cohorts, we recognize that paying for the program in these uncertain times may be difficult for many.

offered by: 

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Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic CEI offices are closed to the public. CEI staff are working remotely and want to hear from you! Please reach out to your CEI contact regarding scheduled meetings and/or any questions/concerns. Click here for a list of COVID-19 Business Resources.
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