Multiple academic studies, along with heaps of personal experiences, have shown that in business settings men not only talk more than women, but also tend to more frequently interrupt their female peers. The reasons that the studies have settled on vary from men using conversation as a tool of dominance to men simply being raised to perceive interruptions differently, but the evidence of men feeling more entitled to voice their opinions is quite clear.

This, of course, is very annoying on a day-to-day basis, but there are larger problems stemming out from it that have a truly negative effect on working women; including the fact that the more someone talks, the more likely their voice will be amplified.

That’s where Women in Business hopes to be a positive force. We hope to amplify the voices that might otherwise be interrupted. That’s why we are proud to continue our tradition of celebrating women-led businesses and organizations with our second annual Fifty Women- Owned Businesses to Follow list.

Inside this issue you will be introduced to 50 women-owned and women-led companies that serve as shining examples of what women can accomplish in business no matter what the industry. Companies and organizations included range from construction firms to advertising to information technology. By including such a large variety, we aim to blur the conceptual line between men and women’s work until people forget it ever existed.

As always, the opportunity for Women in Business to feature such an array of organizations came from our readers, who sent in nominations from communities across our 23-county readership. A few names on the list may be familiar from previous lists such as Top 100, Women Making a Difference or last year’s Fifty to Follow. Many are new additions that we were happy to discover have found such success in Central Pennsylvania.

We hope that the final list represents both large well-established companies and small startups full of potential, while also covering every region of our readership. Readers will see that growing your business is possible in all corners of the commonwealth, whether you are in Altoona, Clairton or Troy.

It is not only our mission to provide a podium for current success stories, but also to support women who have yet to break into the business world. With this in mind, we asked each company selected for some advice that they could pass on to someone else looking to succeed in their industry and hope that their answers demystify the intimidating task of starting and maintaining a business.

With this special edition finalized, Women in Business is moving on to collecting submissions for Women Making a Difference, which will shine a spotlight on the individual women who have taken a leading role in business and in their community. The edition will be published this fall and nomination forms can be found on our website under the “Women Making a Difference” tab. .

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2017-06-16 / Top 50 Women Owned Businesses

ACRES Project

Est. 2014 | State College

The ACRES Project (Adults Creating Residential & Employment Solutions) was founded by a team of dedicated parents, professionals, and community members who recognized the critical need for services for adults with autism. ACRES accepted the challenge to provide strength-based services to a population with unique passions and skills. An advisory board was formed with five adults with autism from the Centre Region with the motto, “a unique community designed by adults with autism for adults with autism.”

ACRES Project leased the former Second Mile group home from Adam Fernsler and Frank Peno in October of 2016. With the help of volunteers from the community, renovations kicked off in December with the goal of empowering adults on the spectrum to reach their highest potential by providing space for independent living, job training and social skills. A reconfiguration of the house included transitional living quarters supplemented with open spaces for day programs.

ACRES Project hired its first female employee with autism in January 2017 to handle social media, as well as graphic design needs. The facility will open in mid- summer. A recent grant from Centre PACT allows ACRES Project to provide three social groups at no charge. ACRES Project will continue to rely on grants and private donations to fund programs and upcoming aquaponics business, which will be entirely operated by local individuals with autism.

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