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Jennifer Rider: Winner of the 2024 Great Companies International Women Entrepreneur Award



Name: Jennifer Rider

Business Name: Hera Associates

Location: Fairfax , USA

Establishment (Year): 2022

Category: Consulting

Profession/ Specialty: Social Impact Business Consulting

Social Media: LinkedIn


Company Detail:

Hera Associates is a global social impact consulting firm that elevates purpose-driven leaders and organizations to achieve positive and lasting change. They combine a private sector perspective with nonprofit and international development expertise to address complex social challenges with innovative and scalable solutions. Hera Associates builds organizational capacity - not dependence - by designing the strategy, structure, and process needed for long-term success. Their strategic planning, capacity building, operational execution, resource mobilization, and leadership development services advance effectiveness and build prosperity for businesses, stakeholders, and society.


Unique Selling Proposition or Competitive Advantage:

Founded in 2022 by two former colleagues and now life-long friends, Hera Associates was created to be a consulting company unlike any other - one based on values, determination, idealism, and a passion to deliver real and transformative results for partners and the world. In tackling today's complex problems, Hera Associates develops unique and customized strategies for each client, creating collective net positive impact. With more than 50 collective years of nonprofit, business, international development/humanitarian, scalability, and sustainability success, their inspirational leadership, grounded in business management, provides collaborative advice and tools for net positive business success.

Approach:

Hera Associates draws on their expertise and a global network of experts across disciplines to create social good strategies that help organizations achieve goals. Their work is based on a client-centered approach that recognizes the organization's strengths and honors its experienced wisdom. They listen and work collaboratively to co-create lasting solutions for unique challenges.

Why Hera:

Built from passion, curiosity, and vision, Hera Associates believes that diverse communities thrive when everyone is engaged and socially responsible. They know that by working together, they can positively impact the world.

What sets them apart: Industry expertise: From small start-ups to vast global organizations, they know what it takes to drive positive change; Minority and women-owned: Hera empowers women. When women are engaged at all levels, families and communities thrive. Their identity is their superpower. Lived/shared experience; Bilingual: English and Spanish


Challenges Faced During the Journey:

They had to learn how to transfer their skills and subject matter expertise to the marketplace to attract viable customers. They entered the government contracting space to fill gaps, improve efficiencies, and influence operational excellence and net positivity. To do this, they had to learn the complexity of government contracting - from various registration and certification processes, to business development, and networking through extensive bureaucracies. A major obstacle in this space is what is known as "past performance". Governments will only issue contracts to businesses with a proven track record securing and executing on government contracts. So - how do they get that experience when governments won't work with them until they have a proven track record? This is a huge barrier to entry! To overcome this obstacle, they found mentors to help them improve their capability statements, streamline their business development process, and they networked extensively to establish relationships with prime government contracts for whom they could subcontract and organizations with whom they could partner. It was a slow - and at times, very daunting - process, but they persevered. If they want to build a new way of doing business - if they want to build net positivity - if they want meaningful social change - then they must keep pushing forward. It has taken them a year to lay the foundation for long-term viability and they're excited to make it happen!


Advice for Women Entrepreneurs:

Go for it! Do not let fear stop them. They all have an amazing ability to create excuses (most of which are based in real truth) - it's those who push through those excuses that succeed. It comes down to this: every single morning, they have two choices: they can continue to sleep with their dreams or they can wake up and chase them. They say chase them!






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