ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE: Over 250 businesswomen listen to a keynote speaker during the Western Women’s Business Conference. The sellout conference brings together businesspeople ranging from restaurateurs to attorney recruiters gathered for a day of workshops, networking and female empowerment. Photo by Molly Horak

Western Women’s Business Conference celebrates diversity and empowermen­t

With balloons, fancy hats, Zumba and gospel singing all featuring as part of the activities in the full-day Western Women’s Business Conference on June 21, it wasn’t your average business gathering. Designed to support and empower women in business, especially women of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the conference was chock-full of inspiration and success stories.

DINNER'S DONE: In partnership with Whole Foods across the Southeast, Smiling Hara Tempeh is releasing precooked, preseasoned products that cut down on meal prep time.

Small bites: Smiling Hara Tempeh’s multifacet­ed expansion

Smiling Hara Tempeh is bolstering its partnership with Whole Foods with the release of a new heat-and-eat product line in addition to opening a new factory; winter farmers markets are kicking off in Western North Carolina; MANNA FoodBank warehouse is sporting a new roof, thanks to several local businesses; and PennyCup Coffee Co. has a new downtown store.