Women Finding Increasing Success in Business

RENO, NV - They were handing out awards at the Nevada Center for Entreprenuership and Technology Expo at the Atlantis Friday morning.

Among the recipients was Katie Knapp, Microenterprise Business Person of the Year.

Knapp owns and operates Bumblebee Blooms Flower Boutique in downtown Reno.

By now it should surprise few that about a third of Nevada small businesses are owned by women. The real story is that their share of this slice of the local economy has grown by 84 percent in recent years.

Katie Knapp has been riding that wave.

Time was, there were some extra hurdles for someone like her.

Until the law was changed to prohibit the practice, banks often required a husband to cosign for a woman seeking to finance a business.

No more. In fact, some think women bring a perspective that works well in the present economy.

"I think they have different ideas," says State Treasurer Kate Marshall, herself a former small business owner. "They respond to customers in a different way and I think that works well for us."

Knapp herself sees no special advantage nor roadblock for women in business, though she admits older attitudes still surface now and then.

"When I'm dealing with contractors they tend to look to my husband instead of me.

But when it happens she shrugs it off, saying it really hasn't been a problem or even an issue.

Marshall points out women still often have to juggle two different lives between home and work. But all indications are they are succeeding.

It can be overwhelming sometimes with the responsibilities of home and business, but truth be told I don't think I'd want it any other way. I enjoy what I do."

Of course, awards don't pay the rent. In business, success is measured one way.

After launching two years ago in a shaky economy, Bumblebee Blooms is about to expand.

Katie Knapp is doing something right.

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