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Bad Girl Ventures pays it forward

'Bad Girls' invest in women, business

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CINCINNATI - Nine-year-old Rosie Dean understands that farming is a business. When asked for the name of a cute baby pig, she explains, "We don't name 'em because they get turned into ham or pork."

Rosie's family raises hogs on the Dean Family Farm near Georgetown, Ohio. But this summer, Rosie started her own company: Rosie's Turkey Corner.

She plans to raise Midget Whites, which are smaller than most turkeys, so they don't take as long to cook.

Rosie's getting started in the business world, with help from her parents, Bill and Beth, and from "Bad Girl Ventures," which provides training and loans for a certain kind of woman looking to start a business.

"Well, she has to be a Bad Girl," explains BGV founder Candace Klein. "She's bold, she's brave, willing to take risks and fight for what she believes in, and think outside the lines a little bit."

Candace invited Rosie to apply for this summer's class.

"This 9-year-old girl has got fire in the belly. I actually heard her speak at a Cincinnati Magazine event, and she was explaining why the Locavore movement is so important in farming," Klein said.

Class members compete for a $25,000 loan and attend six weekly business classes.

Candace knows what it means when someone gives you a chance. She says she grew up in a trailer park in Clermont County, and was the first in her family to go to college. She went to NKU and wanted to go to law school. But then she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2003 and had to stay home for surgery and treatment, which left her her broke.

"So this woman I didn't know, Alice Sparks, was introduced to me, and after one hour of meeting me said, 'I'm gonna pay for you to go to law school.'"

Alice Sparks chaired the Board of Regents at NKU, and has been active in Kentucky politics. She heard about Candace from NKU President Jim Votruba.

"He said, 'She is the most deserving young woman you'll ever meet. She's gonna be Governor of Kentucky and maybe President of the United States.' I said, 'Wow.' "

And Candace said, "How could I ever repay you for this amazing gift?"

Alice replied, "Find a way to invest in women!"

Candace wasted no time. She graduated from Chase Law School and started practicing law in 2008.

In the short time since she launched BGV in 2010, she's made a name for herself and helped other women realize their dreams.

"Even though we only provide one loan of $25,000 in each class," she said, "our goal is to try to find as many loans as possible, for all 10 finalists."

In the past year, Candace and BGV have educated 147 businesses, funded 18 and created 40 jobs.

"She is my most successful investment, and biggest return I've ever gotten," Alice said.

And there's no telling all the ways Alice's investment will pay off for Rosie, who just started fourth grade.

"She's gonna run probably hundreds of businesses by the time she's in her forties! It's a great message to send to young girls," Candace said.

Rosie received the message loud and clear. She loves being a Bad Girl.

"I thought it was pretty cool. I was the only kid there. It was pretty cool. I'm gonna have to bring proof into school, no way they're gonna believe me," Rosie said.

So Rosie, there's your proof!

Wednesday, Aug. 31, the class will graduate and BGV will award the scholarship to the winner.

The program has been so successful, Candace is starting a class in Cleveland this fall and in Columbus in January.

Copyright Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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