Throughout March’s Women’s History Month, we’ve been celebrating female entrepreneurs. We’ve highlighted the tremendous growth of woman-owned businesses in the last two decades (up 114%!) and profiled some amazing female go-getters. While there’s no doubt women entrepreneurs have come a long way, baby, there are still plenty of obstacles on the road to achieving equal representation and opportunity - but these strategies can help.
Mind the funding gap
The 2016 Small Business Credit Survey published by the New York Federal Reserve Bank found big gaps in how women’s and men’s businesses are funded and scaled:
How can women in business counter these significant gaps in funding, credit and growth? Two ways: First, female investors can make a point to fund female entrepreneurs. Second, they can help encourage better access to greater funds for women.
The power of collaboration
Geri Stengel writes in Forbes.com that in 2018 she sees “a rising tide” of women funding women, with a surge in the number of female angel investors helping to fund women-owned business. That swell may be due in part to efforts by Stephanie Newby’s Golden Seeds, Silvia Mah’s Hera Angels, Kristina Montague’s The Jump Fund, Natalia Oberti Noguera’s Pipeline Angels and Alicia Robb’s Next Wave, all organizations intent on educating women with money how to invest and connecting angels with projects.
Small investments count -- a lot
You needn’t be a wealthy angel to support women-owned businesses. Here are other ways to contribute as little as $25 through crowdfunding campaigns. Fun fact: Crowdfunding is one area where women-owned businesses outperform men-owned business. Why? Successful campaigns require compelling storytelling. Since women tend to use “inclusive language” filled with “positive emotion,” their pitches resonate with potential funders.
There are many micro-lending and crowdfunding-type platforms, but here are three standouts when it comes to crowdsourcing funds for supporting women in business:
Finally, seek out and “matronize” women-owned businesses. At the end of the day, a solid, growing customer base is the key to every business’s success. If you have the bucks, join the rising tide by giving to organizations that help women and girls. And take a time-out for a hit of inspiration from forward-thinking women entrepreneurs like innkeeper Monique Greenwood, artist Gopi Shah and trucker Desiree Wood.
Of course, if you’re on the way to starting your own business, we say, go for it. Here in the QB Community, we’ll always have your back!
Before you go
QB Community members, what experience do you have with supporting women-owned businesses?
It's amazing to see such growth in women-owned businesses AND the organizations and platforms that support them. In my own (smallish) community alone we've got 1) an "entrepreneurial feeder group for women," 2) a monthly gathering for area women in business, and 3) a women's business-accountability group that meets regularly at a local coffee shop. And those are just the groups I know about!