Maureen Reno, Reno Energy Consulting Services, LLC, Derry, NH
Five years ago, I never would have imagined being an entrepreneur, but thanks to my network of colleagues and the Center of Women & Enterprise I now own a small business. After over a decade of serving the public as an energy analyst with a state regulatory agency and then a non-profit company in the energy sector, I found myself unemployed. At the end of that dark year, an old colleague and principal of a respected consultancy reached out to me asking if I would consider working with her firm. As an independent consultant, I would help large Federal agencies reduce their energy costs. I took the risk and soon realized the benefits of having control of my own business with flexible hours that allowed me to be a more hands-on mother to my young daughter.
For a couple years, I consulted part-time until a client suggested that I seek certification as a minority-owned business enterprise. This encouragement was the catalyst to forming my LLC. Although I was content with working part time, I knew that eventually I would want to grow my business. Therefore, I sought help from the Small Business Administration and the Center for Women & Enterprise. Their expertise and advice gave me the courage to apply for Federal and NH Minority-Owned Business certification. Soon thereafter, I also became certified in Maryland. After only a year, a large portion of my work is conducted through the Maryland program.