A One Woman Show

After spending years offering prosthetic care to amputees, Paula Franetti felt it was time to go in a different direction. So she started a business that would take a preventive approach to health care.

According to TribLive, many of the people she was helping had lost limbs due to problems that could have been avoided.

While her business is unique, her approach as a one woman show is a trend that is being seen among many woman-owned businesses.

She founded in 2006 what is now MetaFit Solutions LLC, which performs metabolic assessments and designs eating and exercise plans for individuals, medical practices and corporate wellness programs.

“I’m personally finding it difficult to want to work for someone else,” said Franetti, 54, who leases office space in Edgewood and Upper St. Clair. “The advantage I think is the fact that … this is a concept that nobody else is doing. It’s something I’ve created.”

Franetti is among a class of female business owners — those without employees — that grew 20.5 percent in Pennsylvania between 2002 and 2007, according to Census Bureau data released this month.

“We’re seeing a lot of women starting their own businesses,” said Debbie Iszauk, director of membership services at the Monroeville Area Chamber of Commerce, which started a mentoring group for female leaders in 2009.

Experts point to insufficient resources as one cause for the issues female-owned businesses face.

“We think that it is access to capital. It is access to appropriate networks that can support their growth,” said Lee Ann Munger, director of the Center for Women in Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo by Kevin Dooley

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