Pittsburgh women take on entrepreneurial roles, flipping typical gender dynamics

It takes a lot of ambition and resources to follow a passion and create a business from scratch. Typically, the entrepreneurial world is dominated by men.  Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at University College of London, has observed that there are more men taking on entrepreneurial enterprises because they generally have easier access to sources of capital and are less risk-averse than women.

In Pittsburgh, there are two women who defy this stereotype.

Artice Coleman supports her entire household. Financially, she does this almost entirely on her own. After her husband, Monroe, had to leave his job as a counselor to mentally challenged adults at Mercy Behavioral Health due to debilitating rheumatoid arthritis several years ago, she assumed the role of primary breadwinner. She also takes care of her grandmother, Ruth, 91, who lives at home with them.

Artice does all of this with an incredibly positive heart and attitude. She works at the Pittsburgh School District Board of Education as a Student Data Specialist and spends her free time writing her spiritual books, putting on free events to empower women, and volunteering at Divine Intervention Ministries.

Denise Mahan worked for over 20 years in the dental field, but her passion has always been with pets. Her husband, Terry, shares this passion, and a few years ago they started Happy Tailz Spa, a pet grooming business that they operate from their home.  Denise runs the business and does the bulk of the dog grooming while her husband works to support Happy Tailz Spa while they move into a storefront in Wexford, PA.  

Their Kiva Zip Loans:

Artice Coleman is currently fundraising for a $5,000 loan on Kiva Zip that would cover the publishing costs of her second book. She is excited to follow up her first book, Lady Wisdom Tea, with a spiritual book aimed at encouraging children. Artice has loved participating in Kiva Zip and connecting with her lenders, and has been personally thanking each one on her loan profile.

Denise Mahan hopes to draw new customers into Happy Tailz with a new oxidation machine that treats skin problems in pets without the use of steroids. It would be the only one of its kind in the region.  Kiva Zip proved to be a good option when they ran into difficulty finding sources of capital. “Until you’re actually making money, they don’t want to give you money,” Denise said. She is currently fundraising for a $5,000 loan that would cover the cost of the new machine.

Their Kiva Zip Community:


“I just appreciate the time, and the effort, that all of these people have made on my behalf,” Artice said, “I get such a high every time I see another person lend to me. They are my miracle team!”

Kiva Zip has also been a source of inspiration for Denise, showing her that people believe in her business even when they haven’t met her personally.  Denise has also been touched by the investment made by Evan and Tracey Segal, who are personally matching each loan amount made to Happy Tailz Spa. As she put it, “I have someone here who believes in me so much, he will match the amount you lend to me. That he believed in me, it made me cry.”

Lend to Artice and Denise:


Join Artice’s miracle team by helping her publish her second book here.

Lend to Denise and Happy Tailz Spa here, and support her by attending their grand opening on May 17 from 9am-5pm, 10441 Perry Highway, Country Inn Shoppes, Wexford, PA 15090.

About the author

Susan Nielsen

Proudly Alaskan-born and raised, Susan has always had a natural curiosity for world-exploration and a strong sense of compassion for others. Susan attended the University of San Francisco as a University Scholar and received her B.A. in European History after spending a year in Oxford, England. Her time at USF and her subsequent years working, volunteering, and traveling abroad in various countries including Venezuela, Morocco, and Nicaragua honed her sense of social justice. During this time, Susan volunteered at an orphanage in India, earned her Master 100 Ton Captain's License, and ran a small non-profit aimed at diverting youth offenders from the juvenile justice system. Most recently, Susan worked as an Account Executive for a marketing and public relations firm in Santa Barbara, CA. Kiva’s mission embodies many of Susan’s priorities: tackling poverty with an innovative and contemporary approach that draws on human-to-human connection to empower individuals. Passionate about social justice, environmental issues, and politics, Susan is thrilled to become a Kiva Fellow and fulfill her desire to help others overcome adversity. Susan spends her free time playing outside, reading, dancing, cooking, practicing yoga, and playing with her dog.