PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – Pennsylvania has 1.1 million small businesses with 39.4% being owned by women.

Only 6% of those women owned businesses will survive past 20 years, according to U.S. Small Business Administration.

Sue Pera, owner of Cornerstone Coffeehouse in Camphill, and Monica Gould, owner of Strategic Consulting Partners in Mechanicsburg, are part of that 6%.

Opening a new business is very risky. So, you want to make sure you have everything set up for success,” said Pera.  

Pera opened Cornerstone Coffeehouse 25 years ago and Gould founded Strategic Consulting Partners 29 years ago.

“It’s not an easy path when you decide to do it by yourself and you’re one of the pioneers. But it is, it is a path worth pursuing, because at the end of it, you are very fulfilled,” said Gould.

Both women admitting they faced hardships along the way.

“I think the biggest barrier is financial…I struggled to get financing from the bank, and I needed they were telling me I needed somebody to cosign for it,” said Pera.  

“People didn’t believe that I could do it. So, some of my first work was pro bono work because doing things for free and proving myself and showing people that I could do the work and that I’m actually really good at what I do,” said Gould.

Gould also mentioned work life balance was another barrier.

They key to success is networking.

“Most importantly, it’s reaching out to the chambers, networking, finding a mentor, asking to be on a board, asking to have a seat at the board. Just get to know people.” 

Pera and Gould say its important to have a business plan and a mentor. Both say they would be happy to help women make there dream a reality.