Students Win Prestigious Award for Empowering Females in Entrepreneurship

December 20, 2019

Just over 30 years ago, women who desired to acquire a business loan required a signature from either a male relative or spouse. Today, women still face challenges regarding empowerment and funding. To counteract this, a group of Bradley University public relations students launched a campaign to increase positive attitudes surrounding female entrepreneurship.

This all-female group of students formed a public relations agency, The Scene PR, for their senior capstone project and set out to create local change. Their first step was combining forces with Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC) and Silver Lining 309 Boutique. GPEDC serves as a local resource for fostering economic growth through business development and talent attraction. Silver Lining 309 Boutique is a female-owned, small business that has a heart for giving back to its customer base and community.

Together, The Scene PR, GPEDC, and Silver Lining 309 Boutique formulated a workshop offered on Wednesday, November 20, at The Nest Coworking in Peoria, IL. This workshop served as a networking opportunity for local female entrepreneurs and business owners. Through guest speaker presentations and participant camaraderie, survey results showed that attendees' attitudes regarding the resources available to them in the community improved by 50%.

"This project has inspired me more than any project I have worked on before. After hearing so many amazing stories from successful women business owners, I feel more confident and empowered as a woman myself," said student Catherine Blood.

For their efforts, the team was awarded the Fall 2019 Ebeling PR-ize™. The Scene PR consists of:
(Pictured L to R)

Chuck Ebeling

Stephanie Dean, Senior
Hometown: Tinley Park, IL
Major: Public Relations

Natalie Konopka, Senior
Hometown: Sleepy Eye, MN
Majors: Public Relations, Professional Selling, Social Media Marketing
Minor: Management Information Systems

Catherine Blood, Senior
Hometown: Des Peres, MO
Major: Public Relations
Minors: Marketing, German

Emma Hayden, Senior
Hometown: Peoria, IL
Major: Public Relations
Minors: Marketing, Family & Consumer Sciences

The Ebeling PR-ize™ was conceived by Bradley alumnus Chuck Ebeling and faculty member Dr. Ron Koperski in 2004, and is a competitive program among Bradley’s senior public relations students in their capstone course. Students form “agency” teams and are responsible for planning and implementing a real, coordinated public relations campaign on behalf of a local business and a compatible community service organization. Campaign submissions and judging criteria are based on the nationally recognized Silver Anvil Award competition administered by the Public Relations Society of America.

Some media in Bradley University's current print, video and online materials was acquired before the COVID-19 pandemic. Media acquired after the pandemic began was done so in compliance with Bradley's COVID-19 safety protocols at the time. The ongoing safety of our faculty, staff and students is of the utmost concern during these unprecedented times.