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It Takes A Village

Building community on the Web.

Women comprise a growing percentage of Internet users, and if 46-year-old Candice Carpenter and her partners have their way, every woman who goes online will know about http://www.iVillage.com

This 3-year-old "network of online communities" started with a $1 million investment and a distribution agreement with America Online that gave the Web site enviable positioning. "That distribution deal meant we would have traffic from day one," says co-founder and CEO Carpenter, who cites consulting work she did for AOL as one reason her New York City-based firm obtained the Internet giant's backing.

Carpenter founded iVillage.com with Nancy Evans, 48, and Robert Levitan, 37, to provide Web content for women in what was then a heavily male-dominated medium. The site is arranged in channels that address issues like parenting, relationships, health, fitness, food, money and careers.

One channel addresses business ownership topics. "The idea behind Work from Home is teaching women how to start, nurture and grow a [homebased] business," says Shelley Pyne-Hanley, who produces the Work from Home channel. "We target women from those just kicking ideas around to those who have a business and may be wondering how to market it or how to organize a filing system." According to Pyne-Hanley, Work from Home includes two major features that change daily--a message board and a feature article on a topic related to homebased work issues.

Carpenter is bullish on the future of iVillage, both as a business prospect and as a resource for women: "We want to continue to be the dominant women's brand [on the Internet] and to help women solve their everyday problems."

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: It Takes A Village.

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