The founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies — who as a young housewife convinced a bank to finance the business she built from scratch — will be the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Women Entrepreneurs Inspire “WE Inspire” conference 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 2 at Cox Convention Center.
“The goal of the conference is to equip women with the resources they need to turn their business ideas into realities, help them create their own companies, and teach them to make their ventures sustainable,” said Craig Watters, acting director of Oklahoma State University's Riata Center, the conference host.
“This year's event will really be the launch of a year-round initiative where women entrepreneurs will be able to inspire each other through workshops, networking events, webinars and much more,” Watters said.
With only a dream and a recipe, Debbi Fields decided in August 1977, at age 20, to open a chocolate chip cookie bakeshop in Palo Alto, Calif., and over the next 20 plus years, built it into more than 600 company-owned and franchise stores across the U.S. and 10 foreign nations.
Fields since has sold her multimillion-dollar company and today, with her five daughters, is creating her newest cookie book, “The Best of Debbi Fields Cookie Jar.” She also serves as a board member of the Le Bonheur Foundation.
In addition to Fields, the WE Inspire conference also will feature Tina Aldatz, a high-school dropout and inventor of Foot Petals Inc. shoe inserts, and more than 30 women business owners in breakout sessions for new and veteran entrepreneurs. Breakout topics range from finding funding to powering up social media efforts.
Cost is $75, which includes a continental breakfast, lunch, networking reception and resource materials. To register, go to weinspire.net. For more information, call the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship at 744-7552.