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Women Band Together to Get Richer

After being shut out of boys' clubs for years, professional women have created their own clubs to give them access to the same resources, networking opportunities and mentoring.

These groups offer benefits most women won't find in the workplace. But being a part of the club comes with new challenges.

It Gets Lonely

Only 3% of all women-owned businesses gross a million or more annually, according to the Center for Women's Business Research. Female business owners in this upper percentile have difficulty finding other women to relate to.

" These women are in lonely positions," says Georgia Berner, president of Berner International and a member of the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) a nonprofit peer advisory group for female entrepreneurs.

The groups attract women because they offer camaraderie with like-minded business women.

At WPO, for example, women attend monthly meetings with about 20 other women in non-competing industries. Members discuss business alongside personal issues, such as how having children affects the growth of a company.

"Before WLE , I could never get the information I needed," says Debra Duneier, founder of Debra Hope Creations and now a broker for Corcoran.

Now she simply asks her fellow group members at the LEXCI -- the Leadership Executive Circle, part of Women's Leadership Exchange , a club for female business owners who make over $1 million annually.

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