- Published: 04 August 2014 04 August 2014
By JESUS LOPEZ JR.
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – Over the last 13 years, Stephanie Loud has worked to find success in the male-dominated world of construction.
Loud is the owner and manager of Mountain West Precast in Brigham City, which specializes in commercial construction and precast concrete architectural cast stone.
The Small Business Administration recognized Loud’s efforts and named her the winner of the 2014 Utah District women-owned business award.
Loud is one of a growing group of women entrepreneurs in Utah. She is part of a group of women who have shown that the entrepreneurial spirit, of which the Beehive State prides itself for, thrives regardless of gender.
The SBA recognized Loud and the other Utah 2014 Small Business Award winners at a luncheon on May 5.
“I am very flattered and surprised,” Loud said.
Last fall, a representative of Zions Bank called Loud and asked if she minded being nominated.
“I didn’t hear back, so I kind of forgot about it,” Loud said.
Loud said she gets a lot of recognition because she is one of a few women in her field.
“I’m very unique in this industry,” Loud said. “There are not a lot of female owners. There are a lot of good female and minority owned businesses and they don’t always get the recognition they deserve. It is difficult.”
Loud overcame many of those difficulties early in her career.
“When I started, there were some barriers,” Loud said. “I had to show that I knew the industry.”
She said she would attend trade shows or industry conventions with her husband (who is not involved in the company) and no matter what she said, the responses were directed to him.
Loud said since then, she has proven herself.
“I think they’ve had some time to get used to me,” Loud said.
There are 66,500 women-owned businesses in Utah, said Chantel S. Chase, vice president and manager of the Women's Financial Group at Zions Bank. Those businesses contribute $11.4 billion to the state economy.
Yet, Chase said, only 24.6 percent of businesses in Utah are owned by women, compared to the national average of 28.8 percent.
Chase said it is important to get women involved in business, because they control two-thirds of the nation’s wealth.
“They are making the decisions for their families and it is important they have the resources available to them,” Chase said.
MarketStar-founder Alan Hall, who created the angel investor program Grow Utah Ventures, said women-owned businesses are a relatively new phenomenon in Utah. Most began after the turn of the millennium.
“It’s sort of an open world for women to be entrepreneurs today and to be supported,” Hall said.
Groups such as Hall’s and grants offered by financial institutions and the federal government also help underserved communities, such as women get the financial help they need to start or help a business succeed.
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