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Colleen DeBaise
Colleen DeBaise is director of digital media at The Story Exchange, a nonprofit media organization that produces videos and stories about entrepreneurial women. She is the author of "The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook" and previously served as the Journal's small business editor. She was formerly an editor at Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek and SmartMoney, and has been interviewed on MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, CBS and NPR. On the side, she writes about curry at

Entries by Colleen DeBaise

Sabina Hitchen on the Business of Building Buzz

(4) Comments | Posted August 27, 2014 | 2:13 PM

Former educator Sabina Hitchen is on a mission to demystify public relations, social media and SEO for small businesses.

Two years ago, Hitchen and her business partner Katie Hellmuth-Martin decided to start Tin Shingle, an online membership program that offers...

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Why Male Investors Should 'Get' Women-Led Companies

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 9:44 PM

2014-08-20-packit.jpgThere's been a smattering of news lately about how women-owned businesses continue to have trouble finding investors. The world of angels and VCs is still a boy's club, and men apparently tend to invest in other men -- something investor Adam...

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Smorgasburg: A Feast of Opportunity in Brooklyn

(1) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 5:45 PM

What's it like to sell your artisanal goodies at Smorgasburg, the open-air food market in Brooklyn's trendy Williamsburg neighborhood?

The Story Exchange recently headed across the river on a steamy Saturday morning to chat with vendors who sell a tantalizing array of foodie options, from sweet confections to spicy noodles. Given that we cover female entrepreneurs, we interviewed Keavy Blueher and Allison Kave of Butter & Scotch, Lane Li of Noodle Lane and Taryn Garcia of Vendome Macaron.

From a business perspective, all four say Smorgasburg has been the opportunity of a lifetime. It's allowed them to start food businesses with little overhead, while developing a following among the thousands who visit the market each weekend. All are planning to open brick-and-mortar locations (Vendome Macaron has even attracted an investor as a result of its three-year presence at Smorgasburg.)

"Being attached to Smorgasburg really gives you street 'cred'... so people know that you're a legit business," Blueher says. "It's always nice being able to name-drop Smorgasburg."

Beyond the exposure, the congenial atmosphere of Smorgaburg -- as well as other markets, like nearby Greenmarket in Manhattan's Union Square -- make it a particularly supportive environment for female entrepreneurs to thrive.  "The greenmarket is a real community, and you really get to know the people - not just the customers, but you really get to know all of the people that you are working with," says Beth Linskey of Beth's Farm Kitchen, who sells jams and chutneys in Union Square. "We really consider ourselves neighbors."

The mood and spirit seems a far cry from the cut-throat kitchens of the restaurant industry, which have developed a reputation for being hostile to female chefs. (We recently took a look at sexism in the restaurant industry in this two-part series:  Why We Care About Female Chefs.)

Instead, the sights, sounds and smells of Smorgasburg combine in a welcoming marketplace, for vendors and hungry tourists alike. For more, read our article, A Feast of Opportunity, and listen to short interviews with the female entrepreneurs who are successfully growing businesses...

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Inspiring Girls to Be Tech Entrepreneurs

(3) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 5:20 PM


Inside a conference room on the 36th floor of Rockefeller Center, a group of 17 high school girls are animatedly talking about their startup plans.

One team is plotting Tek Truk, a vehicle loaded with computers, chargers and other devices, that would cater...

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Meet the 25-Year-Old Powerhouse Behind the Malala Fund

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 7:36 PM

Life changed for Shiza Shahid on the day her close friend Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan while traveling home from school.

Shahid had grown up with progressive parents in Islamabad, enjoying the same liberties as her brother, and attended college at Stanford University. In 2012 she...

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Plum Alley: Connecting Women With Money

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 3:37 PM


Deborah Jackson spent 20 years on Wall Street, raising money for clients.

Now, she's helping female entrepreneurs raise startup capital via Plum Alley, the crowdfunding platform she launched last fall. (The name is a mash-up of "plum" assignment and Silicon Alley.)...

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Why We Care About Female Chefs

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 5:07 PM


Last fall, when Time magazine published an article about the "Gods of Food" that omitted female chefs, a media backlash ensued.

"Why do female chefs rarely win the adulation and recognition of male chefs?" asked the New York Times in...

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Meet 10 Young Women to Watch in 2014

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 3:27 PM


Young women are becoming a powerful force in business.

The Story Exchange's first ever list of Young Women to Watch shows a crop of female entrepreneurs who are shaking up traditional industries, spearheading social change and driving advances in medicine,...

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Women Make Millions of Dollars in Trucks, Tractors

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 6:01 PM

Listen up, ladies. Want to make some cash? Forget fashion, fitness or beauty. The real money lies in non-traditional businesses -- think trucking, warehousing and wholesale trade.

That's according to Marsha Firestone, who leads the Women Presidents' Organization, a trade group for multimillion-dollar women-owned businesses. This...

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Growing Carol's Daughter in a Brooklyn Kitchen

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 10:57 AM


In the early 90s, Lisa Price was working as a writer's assistant on The Cosby Show while mixing up fragrances and creams as a hobby in her Brooklyn, N.Y. kitchen.

When the sitcom ended, Price decided to turn her pastime into a business...

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A Tech Entrepreneur's No. 1 Tip for Success: Deliver

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 2:13 AM

Two decades ago, as the World Wide Web came on the scene, Jeanette Hernandez Prenger saw an opportunity and started an information-technology consulting business in Kansas City, Mo. Today, ECCO Select employs more than 180 full-time IT staffers and...

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Military Mom's 'KinderJam' Program Inspired by Autistic Son

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 4:28 PM


As a military spouse, El Brown spent 10 years using her master's degree in early childhood education to teach at U.S. bases in Japan and South Korea. Once she returned to the U.S., Brown began teaching again -- this time inspired by the...

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How Obamacare Helped 3 Small-Business Owners

(4) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 2:55 PM

We know: The rollout of Obamacare was bungled, and there's still plenty of confusion when it comes to the Affordable Care Act's requirements.

But ahead of the March 31 deadline for individual enrollment, we decided to ask female entrepreneurs in our TSE community about their experiences with Obamacare. Most...

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Women Entrepreneurs Are Pretty Happy -- Here's Why

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 2:46 PM

Now here's good news: Women entrepreneurs are among the happiest people in the world.

That's according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which compared the personal well-being and job satisfaction of individuals who start or manage businesses in 70 economies with that of people who don't engage...

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1,000 Stories: Sharing Women's Startup Experiences

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 10:42 AM

Nadya Saib is running a social enterprise in Indonesia that sustains local farmers. In New York, Tze Chun has launched a startup that connects emerging artists with art collectors. And India's Neha Modgil is leading her own tech-design firm, bringing her 3-month-old baby to work with her.

These are some...

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5 Reasons Why 2013 Was Good for Women in Politics

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 5:38 PM

There's still a gender gap when it comes to positions of power. But 2013 was a notable year for women in politics, in the U.S. and elsewhere.

As editors at The Story Exchange, we welcome such progress. When there are more females holding office, it stands to reason we'll...

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The Fuss Over Women Bosses

(9) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 4:01 PM

There's been a lot of press recently over a Gallup poll that indicates Americans still prefer a male boss.

The survey of 2,059 adults found that 35 percent of respondents, both male and female, prefer working for a man, compared with 23 percent who favor a woman....

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A Blockbuster Lesson: Why Pivoting Is Important

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2013 | 12:13 PM

It's the end of an era for the Blockbuster store, once the king of video. Earlier this week, the chain's parent, Dish Network Corp., announced that it would close the roughly 300 remaining stores it owns by January.

A trip to the video store was practically...

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Good Year for Female Mayors, 'Lady Parts'

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 8:05 AM

It wasn't a midterm election year, so Election 2013 didn't change the mostly male make-up in Washington. But female mayors in a number of U.S. cities won election or reelection Tuesday. And women voters played a starring role in at least one state's hotly contested gubernatorial election.


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Immigration Reform: It's Not Dead After All

(1) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 4:42 PM

With everything from Twitter's IPO to Obamacare dominating the headlines, it seems like months since we've heard anything on immigration reform.

But this week, we were reminded that even some business-conservative groups are continuing to push for immigration action in Washington. On Tuesday, an eclectic...

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