WORCESTER- Local women looking for a fun night out and a way to support other local women, mark your calendars – Worcester business owner Allison Hale has just the thing for you this March.

Ladies Night Out Worcester, a one-of-a-kind showcase for local, female-owned businesses, will be held at the Sprinkler Factory on Harlow St on March 9, and Hale is the brains behind it all. The event will feature over 50 vendor stalls, a self-defense demonstration, free gifts and a cash bar.

“Worcester is a great place to start a business, but the small business community is underserved in terms of promotion and marketing by the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups,” said Hale.

Hale hopes the event will give female-owned small businesses an opportunity they don’t usually get to network and gain new customers.

“I think the whole concept of it – a ladies night out is not a new concept. What’s different about my event is it’s completely geared towards supporting small, local, female-owned businesses, said Hale. “A lot of the other women’s night out events that I’ve seen are more women-centric, so it’s aimed at a fun night out for women but it’s not necessarily women’s businesses participating in in it. It’s a fun night for women, which I think is a great thing, but I wanted to take it and make it also about promoting women. It’s women supporting women.”

Hale, a firm administrator at Lian Zarrow in Worcester, is familiar with the challenges faced by female business owners, especially in the creative fields.

“I started doing a little bit of business consulting on the side at night for free to a lot of my friends, who are women who own businesses. When you’re a woman business owner starting out, there’s a lot of risk involved. It takes a lot of hard work. These businesses are how they support themselves and their families and I understand why a lot of them don’t feel comfortable in a corporate-type setting. I think it’s hard when you’re a woman in a creative business,” said Hale.

Those insights inspired Hale to launch a small business consulting firm – geared towards women – of her own.

Karen Brown, a close friend of Hale, owns Hanmi Tae Kwon Do in Worcester. She and her daughters will give an awareness and self-defense seminar at the event. She shares many of Hale’s criticisms and concerns, and is excited for an event that will allow her to meet to other female entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Brown said, “I think it’s going to be a place where women will be comfortable to open up to each other and get to know each other. This event just for women like me is going to be so beneficial, just so that we can meet each other and get some kind of network going on, to share ideas.”

For tickets to Ladies Night Out, click here.