Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, talks at an Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global event. Credit: Instagram/WEGG

ROGERS PARK — A Rogers Park nonprofit is trying to help women business owners survive — and perhaps even thrive — through the coronavirus outbreak.

Today, Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global will host its first “virtual cafe,” where female entrepreneurs can meet online to discuss business issues related to the pandemic and share tips on how to overcome the problems. The event will happen at 4 p.m. via a Zoom web conference.

Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global was founded to help propel women business owners to the next level. Laurel Delaney, founder of the Rogers Park-based group, said she now wants to foster a conversation on how the pandemic and efforts to mitigate its spread have effected business owners —and ways her group can help.

“We’re trying to run a virtual lifeline to anybody that needs it,” Delaney said. Entrepreneurs “need those virtual connections to talk about what’s going on, ask any questions they have and try to help each other move forward.”

Efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus have significantly impacted the local and global economy. In Chicago, a stay-at-home order and the mandated closure of dining rooms and bars has throttled business owners and caused the laying off of thousands of employees.

Delaney said the idea of the virtual cafe is to connect people to resources and to have business owners share best practices for mitigating the impacts of the coronavirus on business.

Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global regularly hosts events at its Rogers Park offices at 6807 N. Lakewood Ave., but about 60 percent of its work is already done virtually, Delaney said. Delaney will host the virtual cafe and help foster an intimate and open conversation about the challenges facing business during the pandemic.

The virtual cafe event will run at 4 p.m. every Tuesday until the pandemic subsides, or until women businesses no longer need help navigating this new territory, Delaney said.

“We want them to know, we’re listening to them, and we want to know what we can do to help,” she said.

To join the virtual cafe, click here. The Zoom meeting ID number is 746-553-873.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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