As Texas was hit this summer with catastrophic rainfall and flooding from Hurricane Harvey, calls for donations were widespread. And charitable folks from throughout the world responded in droves, donating clothing, diapers, food and more. But there’s one thing relief organizations often need more than anything, and that’s cold, hard cash. As one CBS News article originally posted after Hurricane Sandy explains, despite good-hearted intentions, items like clothes often don’t have a place to be stored, milk doesn’t have a place to stay cold and so on. Instead, giving relief organizations funds enables them to support local merchants and get exactly what they need to those most in need. Today, consider giving what you can, even $5, to a charity of your choice.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 63 Percent
Anyone who has ever been involved with a nonprofit, operated a business or had a side hustle knows every dollar counts. After all, the almighty dollar can save lives, grow small businesses and boost the economy like nothing else. But according to America’s Small Business Development Center, money can also be a barrier, especially when it comes to women entrepreneurs. Though plenty of Americans are willing to take the leap into the entrepreneurial realm, 55 percent of people say access to funds is a barrier to their business aspirations. And women entrepreneurs find it even more challenging, with 63 percent saying access to cash is the most limiting factor to starting a small business.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Kathryn Petralia, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Kabbage Inc.
Today’s Woman to Watch has an insightful understanding of all things moolah, and uses her decades of financial savvy to help small-business owners get access to those ever-important funds. Kathryn Petralia is the co-founder of Kabbage, a tech company that aims to quickly connect small businesses with capital, enabling entrepreneurs—many women among them—to use their new cash flow to hire employees, purchase more inventory, upgrade their equipment, boost their marketing efforts and become all-around business champs.
It all started in 2008, when Kathryn, a lifelong tech geek, figured out that using technology to review and analyze data would help deliver funding to small businesses much faster than traditional lending processes. As any small-business owner knows, time is just about as precious as money, so Kabbage lets applicants know whether they’re approved for a line of credit within just minutes.
Kabbage itself is venture-funded, backed by investors like Scotiabank, ING and Thomvest Ventures. And the platform is a big hit, having raised more than $200 million in equity and deploying more than $3 billion in capital to more than 100,000 small- to medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S., including some that had previously been denied funding by banks.
One reason Kathryn feels compelled to help small businesses involves her career history dealing with credit and payments. As a former corporate-development exec for CompuCredit Corporation and the vice president of strategy for Revolution Money, she saw firsthand what it takes for entrepreneurs to gain funding and sustain it.
Another cool aspect of Kabbage is its total focus on its customers. Kathryn isn’t interested in some middleman misrepresenting her company to potential Kabbage customers, or jacking up customer costs. So, Kabbage purposefully avoids the broker model in order to interact with customers directly, getting entrepreneurs the funds they need and making the process as painless as possible. Now that’s good business!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s quote goes out to all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there, and comes from Debbi Fields, aka cookie maven Mrs. Fields. She said:
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.