Labelle, founder of winery, hosts entrepreneurship workshop for Girls Inc. attendees

·2 min read

Aug. 6—AMHERST — Amy LaBelle, founder and co-owner of LaBelle Winery, led a free entrepreneurship workshop titled Empowering Angels: Empowerment through Entrepreneurship for girls age 11 through 13 on July 20, in conjunction with Girls Inc. of New Hampshire, located in Nashua. The one-day seminar was at LaBelle's Amherst location.

Empowering Angels' mission is to encourage young people to embrace the possibility of entrepreneurship by offering training in basic business skills and strategies, and by providing role models on which they can model their conduct.

The Empowering Angels program aims to offer young people information, skills training and business ideas in an entertaining, stress-free environment where they can learn, create and enjoy the experience.

"Learning to think like an entrepreneur at a young age could help individuals choose or create successful careers in the future," LaBelle said. "I want young people to understand they don't need a trust fund or substantial financial backing to launch a business. What they do need is a plan — a roadmap. We can help with that."

The board of directors of Empowering Angels was in attendance at the July 20 workshop, acting as program mentors and facilitators. Along with LaBelle, these included Cesar Arboleda, board member; Michelle Thornton, board co-vice president; Danielle Sullivan, board co-vice president; MaryAnn Manoogian, board treasurer; Kimberly Cortino, board secretary; and James and Kaveney, board member.

The one-day session began with an icebreaking exercise to help the group get to know one another, followed by a morning session focused on teaching entrepreneurial skills and the steps needed to get a business started. Each of the attendees developed a business idea, wrote a business plan, and then "pitched" their ideas to each other and to the board members.

"We were blown away by the pitches the girls put together in such a short time frame," LaBelle said. "They were terrific."

Workshop attendees also took a tour of LaBelle Winery that focused on the STEM aspects of winemaking.

"At the start of the program, I always ask the attendees if they think they could start a business, and very few usually raise their hands. At the end of an Empowering Angels session, I ask again, and we are thrilled to see most hands go up with enthusiasm. That is the ultimate reward for us," LaBelle siad. "We often have attendees tell us they look forward to updating us on their progress in starting their business. They are very committed to the concept."

Another essential component of the day is having fun. The attendees danced, laughed, and ate healthy food. The Empowering Angels program is well-rounded and considers all aspects of the attendees' wellbeing, which LaBelle believes is the foundation of a great learning experience.

For more information about the Empowering Angels: Empowerment through Entrepreneurship program, email