Recently in the Women Business Owners Category

 

If you are a woman entrepreneur trying to raise venture capital, this article, written by Vivian Giang, will certainly guide through the majors difficulties. It will let you succeed in the "Jungle" of raising venture capital funds, or at least it is going to give very useful advices. This article (Hyperlink) shares the stories of six women entrepreneurs who have successfully acquired funding in this complicated system.

Sure statistics prove that the method of financing still has some challenges, especially when you think that male entrepreneurs are 40% more likely to get VC funding than female founders, but change is on the horizon, and these entrepreneurs are certainly an example of tenacity and sharpness.

Get to know Nicole Sanchez, founder of luxury hair distribution company, VIXXENN ; Jessica Richman, cofounder and CEO of uBiome, a platform for microbiome sequencing; Mada Seghete, cofounder of developer tool, Branch Metrics; Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of JOOR, a private online fashion marketplace for wholesale buying; Fern Mandelbaum, entrepreneur, managing partner at Vista Venture Partners and lecturer at Stanford Business School; and Umaimah Mendhro, cofounder and CEO of VIDA, an e-commerce platform that aims to connect designers, artists, producers, and consumers.

Read the article here.


3 Undeniable Business Trends You Need to Embrace

Adaptability is the key ingredient of success for those looking to accomplish great things in today's business climate.   This is one of the key business trends highlighted by Huffington Post's blogger, Doug G. Sandler in his ARTICLE : 3 Undeniable Business Trends You Need To Embrace. We live in a business world that is moving faster than it ever has and adaptability seems to be the only acceptable policy for an entrepreneur, even though for many it will mean changing the status quo of how you operate, and for others - the newbie business owners - time and resources will need to be spent creating and improving their networks and key resources. Either case, you should embrace these three trends to make your own way towards success.


  1. The Internet is here to stay! The most successful businesses of tomorrow will be able to master technology but still provide a human touch as well. 

  2. Content is king.  Blogging, writing and sharing content with existing customers and potential customers is vital. Be an expert in your industry, stay connected to your market and provide content that is relevant, interesting and easy to read.

  3. Adapt or perish. You cannot ignore business trends or your business will be left behind.


Read more here.






The dawn of the New Year provides an excellent opportunity to review the successes of 2014, and to assess areas of improvement for 2015. The National Women's Business Council's annual report, "Building Bridges: Leveraging Research and Relationships to Impact the Business Climate for Women" does exactly that, providing us with an overview of women entrepreneurship, including a summary of key research findings, policy recommendations and the Council's agenda in the year ahead. The report rests on NWBC's four pillar platform- access to capital, access to markets, job creation and growth, and data collection- and confirms what many of us already know, that the full economic participation of women is essential to economic growth in the U.S. 


Access to capital remains a key issue for women business owners. In order to better understand the ways in which women business owners accessed capital, NWBC worked with the SBA to analyze loan data, partnered with Walker's Legacy to host a round-table specific to women of color and access to capital, and commissioned new research on under-capitalizationThe research shows a direct link between access to capital and revenue generation, with men starting their businesses with nearly twice as much capital as women, a disparity which increases among firms with high growth potential. The report highlights crowdfunding as an important new resource for women business owners seeking capital.

The NWBC also focused much research on access to markets for women business owners, using WIPP's own ChallengeHER campaign as a building block for identifying best practices in government procurement. Thanks to the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, more and more federal contracts are being awarded to women owned small businesses. However, disparities still remain in regard to award amount between WOSBs and non-WOSBs, most likely as a result of different contract types. 

In 2013, the Council called for an increase in the number of women owned or led firms in incubators and accelerators in an attempt to increase job creation and growth. In 2014, the Council honored this commitment, through championing the SBA's Office of Investment and Innovation's Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, convening a public meeting on STEM, entrepreneurship, and women, and commissioning new research on micro-businesses and accelerators and incubators. Research shows that women with dependent children are less likely to add additional employees, indicating that child care burdens are still a significant obstacle to the growth of women owned small businesses. 

The report concludes with a number of different, concrete strategies for each pillar, building off of past success while also acknowledging areas for improvement. Among many other things, the NWBC recommends: tax credits for investors who finance women-owned and led firms; creating opportunities to align women business owners with government and corporate procurement officials; improvement of the availability and timeliness of government and private sector data on women owned small businesses; the implementation of the sole source authority for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (yay!). 

The National Women's Business Council is a crucial resource for women entrepreneurs and business owners. The research and recommendations they provide acts as a road map for the success of women entrepreneurs, success which is reached through hard work, partnerships and persistence. 2014 was a great year for women entrepreneurs, and 2015 looks just as promising. 

 

We Did It


By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Government Relations

 WIPP Works In Washington

December 2014


It was against all odds that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a vitally important improvement to the WOSB procurement program - sole source authority.   Yes, you read it right - the WOSB program will now have parity with every other small business procurement program. 

 

The law wasn't written that way back in the year 2000, but through WIPP's persistence for 14 years, we finally have a program that is sustainable.  First, of course, we had to get the program put into place.  If you recall, SBA delayed implementation for 11 years.  Then we went about changing the underlying law that was flawed.  First, we advocated for the removal of the dollar caps on the program--the original law limited contracts under this program to $5 million, rendering the program largely ineffective.  Since the caps on awards through this program were removed, the program has tripled in size. 

 

But, in our view, removing the dollar caps was not enough to make this program work.  The original law only permits contracts to be set-aside for women owned companies if the business is owned and controlled by women and two or more women owned companies will submit offers.  Meanwhile, every other small business procurement program allows contracts up to $4 million (or $6.5 million in the case of manufacturing) to be directly awarded to one firm.  That is a critical tool used by the federal government to award contracts to minorities, veterans and HUBZone firms to access the federal market.

 

Now that I have explained the long road toward making the WOSB procurement program work, we have a few things left to do.  First, agencies (in this case the SBA) have to promulgate rules to implement the law passed by Congress.  The SBA did this for the removal of dollar caps in six months, which is lightening speed for an agency.  Second, the FAR Council, which oversees contracting rules, has to approve the changes.  That takes additional time.  Third, all the contracting officers and small business offices in the government need to understand the change and start using it.

 

It is a long process, but not as long as we have been working on making this program successful.  And we certainly did not do this alone.  To thank everyone that deserves thanks would require pages but here are some special shout-outs.  If you ever responded to a WIPP Call to Action or ever wrote a letter to your elected officials on the WOSB program--THANK YOU, you made a difference.  To the fifteen organizations that supported WIPP on this effort--THANK YOU. If you attended the hearing during WIPP's annual leadership conference, you played a big part--THANK YOU.  Special thanks go to those on Capitol Hill who shepherded this program through the Congressional system- Senators Cantwell, Shaheen, Landrieu and Representatives Speier and Graves.  The staffs of the Senate and House Small Business Committee were instrumental in this success.  The SBA Administrators Mills and Contreras-Sweet made the success of this program a top priority and we will never forget their contribution.  Speaking of staff members, the dedicated SBA employees on the Government Contracting team and in the General Counsel's office deserve our gratitude.  The WIPP team and WIPP's board members have been solidly behind these successes devoting endless hours on these issues, ensuring that Congress heard directly from business leaders.  Lastly I am really proud of my team's efforts.  As I am sure you are aware, there has been very few votes in this Congress this year--this effort was particularly difficult and fraught with many twists and turns.

 

But in the end--WE WON--WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERS WON.  Now, for the first time in history, let's make sure the federal government meets its goal of 5% with women owned firms. 


 

New Report from the White House Council on Women and Girls

 

This month the White House released a report on the status of women and girls of color in the United States. The report, compiled by the White House Council on Women and Girls, covers everything from education to criminal and juvenile justice, and is an important step in assessing the policies that have had a positive impact, as well as areas that could be improved. 

 

According to the report, women of color have made great economic gains over the last 5 years, including increasingly choosing careers in entrepreneurship. Black women-owned business increased by 258 percent from 1997-2013, while Hispanic women-owned businesses increased by 180 percent, Asian American women-owned businesses by 156 percent and American Indian/Alaska Native women-owned businesses increased by 108 percent. As the rate of women entrepreneurship has risen, so has the number of small business loans made to women. From fiscal year 2013-2014, the SBA has increased the number of 7(a) loans made to women in all areas, including Black, Hispanic, AAPI and American Indian/Alaska Native women. 

 

In addition to the increasing number of SBA loans made to women of color, we have also seen more government programs focused on providing women with the tools they need to make their businesses successful. Nearly one third of businesses in the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program are women-owned, while the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program has increased the number of federal contracting dollars going to women-owned small businesses by 7.5 percent between 2012 and 2013. 


Despite these gains, women of color still have many barriers facing their economic success. High rates of unemployment, unequal pay, and under-representation in management positions affect all women, but have a larger impact on women of color. As President Obama noted, women of color "struggle ever day with biases that perpetuate oppressive standards for how they're supposed to look and how they're supposed to act. Too often they're either left under the hard light of scrutiny, or cloaked in a kind of invisibility". In order to combat these challenges, it's necessary to look at both race and gender as barriers to success, and to understand the complexity that occurs when they intersect.
 

 

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