WINONA, Minn. — Local businesswomen will address the challenges and opportunities of being an entrepreneur in a panel discussion Wednesday, March 29, hosted by the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at Saint Mary’s University.

Women own more than 10.6 million businesses in the U.S., and their businesses account for $2.5 trillion in sales. In the past two decades, the number of women-owned businesses has grown 68 percent.

Lynita Docken-Delaney and Laura Delaney Roessler of Elmaro Vineyard of Trempealeau, Wis., along with Mary, Sara, and Jess Ecker of Ecker’s Apple Farm near Centerville, will talk about unique challenges for women in business. These women will share personal stories of triumph and tribulations, what they’ve learned, and highlights of their successful family business ventures.Mary Ecker and her daughters, Jess and Sara, have run the orchard since Mary’s husband Peter, who had managed the land since 1970, died in 2009.  The apple orchards boast 15 varieties of apples with an expansive range of tastes, textures, and subtle flavors. The crop is Tru Earth Certified, grown with conscious thought to people and the environment. Visitors to the farm can pick their own apples in the apple orchards, then stop in to the retail store for locally produced specialty products, Wisconsin apples, caramel, and baked goods made right at Ecker’s

The mother-daughter winemaking team of Lynita Docken-Delaney and Laura Delaney Roessler, along with their husbands, opened Elmaro Vineyard in 2011. The Delaney’s were first inspired to grow grapes and make wine while on a trip to northern Italy in 2003 to watch Laura compete in a curling tournament. Lynita fell in love with the vineyards and wanted to plant grapes back in Wisconsin. Today, the vineyard has grown to 9 1/2 acres of grapes, a medium-sized vineyard for Wisconsin. Wines from Elmaro are made from grapes grown by more than 10 different vineyards in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and one in Arkansas. Juice from the Finger Lakes region of New York is brought in to craft a wine as well. Elmaro has been recognized with 10 gold medals and is a sweepstakes winner at national and international competitions for their wines.

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel—free and open to the public—begins at 7 p.m. in Figliulo Recital Hall, located in the Saint Mary’s Performance Center.

About the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies The Kabara Institute aims to incite a passion for entrepreneurial spirit in students across Saint Mary’s University, regardless of their major field of study, by providing opportunities for students to interact with entrepreneurs and experience entrepreneurship first-hand, and to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the importance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in our society.

Photo captions: Lynita Docken-Delaney and Laura Delaney Roessler of Elmaro Vineyard will share their experiences during the Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel discussion Wednesday, March 29, at Saint Mary’s University.

Eckers Apple Farm is family run by Mary Ecker (back left) and her daughters Sarah, left, and Jess, right, along with Jess’s husband, Simon DeGabriele. The Ecker women will also join the Women’s Entrepreneurship Panel discussion Wednesday, March 29, at Saint Mary’s University.

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