While celebrating and supporting entrepreneurs is always at the forefront of our minds, the arrival of National Women’s Small Business Month gave us a wonderful reason to reflect on some of the incredible stories of women entrepreneurs we’ve been fortunate to share, and to be a part of.

In the 11 years since we launched The Scout Guide, we’ve met countless women who have followed their dreams and started their own businesses, and to this day each story inspires us. We’ve talked to women who set out at 22 to open their own retail shop, and 30 years later are still in business and serve as mentors for their own young staff members; who learned a male-dominated trade and started a business as a creative outlet and way to make money; who moved to a new city and decided to use the fresh start as an opportunity to turn a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur into a reality—just to name a few. Each story is unique, but there are a few common threads: taking a risk, recognizing an opportunity, following a passion, persevering, evolving, and appreciating and being deeply committed to their community. In celebration of Women’s Business Month, we’ll be talking to a few female dynamos about these and other topics on Instagram Live on October 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET—we hope you’ll join us @thescoutguide.

We also have the immense pleasure of being part of the journey of more than 60 women business owners every day—our franchisees, who have chosen to turn their love of living locally into a profession. Currently, The Scout Guide is 100% female-owned, and our editors/owners’ backgrounds range from politics to publishing, finance to fashion. Over the past year, we’ve shared many of their stories as well—how their professional paths led them to where they are today, the joy they find in helping small business owners connect and succeed, how they approach the work/life balance in their everyday lives. When we started The Scout Guide, we had no idea that creating a guide highlighting locally owned businesses would lead to a nationwide network of women business owners supporting the local businesses in their towns. Partnering with this incredible group of entrepreneurs to further The Scout Guide’s mission, and supporting them in achieving their business goals, is exhilarating, and an honor.

According to the Small Business Association, the number of women business owners has been increasing over the past five decades; currently, approximately 40% of all small businesses in the United States are owned by women. This is worth celebrating, but there is still room to grow. It’s also worth remembering that these women-owned businesses will only stay in business with the support of their communities. In celebration of Women’s Small Business Month, and every month, we hope you’ll take some time to engage with the women-owned businesses in your communities (our guides are a great place to discover some). Stop in, post about them on social media, write a positive comment or review. And if you’re interested in joining a dynamic group of women and turning a passion for local businesses into a business yourself, we’d love to hear from you.

Learn more about The Scout Guide franchise opportunity here. Find your local city guide here.