Community building event empowers women business owners
Werk Nights Hamilton is building safe spaces for the women entrepreneurs community
Werk Nights Hamilton is community-building initiative focused on promoting women-owned businesses and fostering connections in the industry. Werk Nights consist of a featured speaker, games, drinks, food and an all-around fun time to interact with like-minded individuals.
The larger events are currently being held every other month with a limited capacity and smaller events are hosted every month. Werk Night’s current venue is the Steel Town Cider, located downtown.
The next event is being held on Apr. 16 at 7:00 p.m. The speaker for this month’s event is Alex Coombs, the founder and president of Northern Spruce Media, a marketing media agency. The only requirement to attend is that you must identify as a women business owner.
Werk Nights was founded by Alyssa Lancia and Anna Di Carlo, both small business owners themselves. Lancia currently owns and operates Darling Donuts, a donut shop geared towards making gourmet and gluten-free, vegan donuts and Di Carlo owns Day of Creative, an event planning company.
Before working on Darling Donuts and Werk Nights, Lancia worked in human resources until her company closed down and she went on maternity leave. This prompted her to grow her side hustle baking business into something bigger and it has been her focus for the past year and a half.
Lancia found entrepreneurship to be a lonely and isolating business and felt the urge to create an empowering and safe space for other women who might be having similar experiences.
“There's a lot of entrepreneur events, but there's no female entrepreneurial events. [As] women in this industry, [we] are very similar. We've been through the same types of challenges and similar journeys. So I wanted to create that space that we didn't have previously,” said Lancia.
During the pandemic, Lancia set out to interview different women entrepreneurs to shine a light on their businesses, especially during such a difficult time. Out of this, she started to see a way to bring other women together. After bringing Di Carlo onto this project, the two of them began to work to make Werk Nights a reality, hosting their first event last March.
Reception for the events has been very positive so far. A combination of new members and returning ones frequent Werk Nights. Lancia explained people come excited to see the featured speaker, meet new people and create professional in-person branding.
Lancia hopes people leave the events having had a fun time, but also having facilitated new friendships while learning more about themselves and what other businesses have to offer. Most importantly, she hopes they will feel a sense of relief knowing there are other people going through the exact same journey.
For students entrepreneurs or those interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, Werk Nights can be a great way to learn about other women in the industry.
“I think it's good that students can definitely come out and see what it's all about and get inspired. You [can] see how inspiring and ambitious people are and think, “Oh my God, this is me; I want to do this.” So I think it would be great for them to come,” Lancia said.