Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.
I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!
Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.
This Week’s Must-Read:
Who it’s for:
Every woman entrepreneur, and everyone else who’s thinking about starting a business.
Why it’s important:
It’s common knowledge that funding is more difficult for women than for men in today’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. I recently attended a SXSW panel comprised of rockstar women taking this barrier head on. The panel showcased a $1B fund (yes, $1 billion!) for investment in women-founded companies, and a VC firm with over 70% of investments in companies started by under-represented founders (AKA non-white men).
We also celebrated that women angel investors have grown over 700% in the last 10 years, from 11,000 to 78,000. I’m incredibly proud to be one of them! Progress is afoot. So, how can you speed up the pace of progress? This week’s article makes us look in the mirror and own that we have a role to play in breaking the funding barrier.
A Love-hate Relationship: Women have traditionally had a love-hate relationship with money. We love to spend it (can you say Gucci or Jimmy Choo?), but we hate to talk about it. In a study by Merrill Lynch, 61% of women said they would rather discuss the details of their own death than money! This attitude is negatively impacting the ability of female entrepreneurs to secure funding, and is contributing to the significant gap between the number of women who start businesses and those who commit to growing them.
Women Don’t Ask: Men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise - and when women do ask, they typically request 30% less. This trend applies to entrepreneurs, too: Despite the growth of female founders, women are not asking for the funding they need to grow their ventures. Only 25% of women entrepreneurs seek financing over the lifespan of their business.
So how can we get women to ask for the funds they need to grow their businesses?
The Mindset Shift: The first step is to just start talking about it. (Money, that is). Then, add education to grow confidence.
Resources to use include: The Small Business Administration (SBA), The American Business Women’s Association, The National Association of Women Business Owners, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Mix in a mentor and talk with them about money. Research shows that people with a mentor are five times more likely to start a business than those without one.
There Are Options: While seeking funding to start a business can be intimidating, there are many options. Angel investment or venture capital are not your only options. Really!
- Loans: This is the first and most obvious option. SBA loans are great for women who need a long-term business loan. Online lenders offer almost any type of business financing, and can do so relatively quickly. Some to consider include: Funding Circle, Lending Club, OnDeck and Kabbage.
- Grants: Many government agencies, nonprofits and private organizations provide small business grants, and several of these are open to women only.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and iFundWomen have enjoyed incredible success. For women-led businesses and startups, crowdfunding is now considered an alternative financing solution.
Top Take-Away: As women, we owe it to ourselves to achieve financial success. Women can have a remarkable economic impact on the world; let’s embrace what money can do and break the taboo.
Want more detail on how to tackle the funding barrier? Dive into these: