Funding Female Futures
Early on in my entrepreneurial career I learned what it was like to be a woman in a man’s world. I realized very quickly the uphill battle I faced in being taken seriously. A battle in having to ‘prove’ myself to men that would never wear, much less understand my vision for women’s fashion.
What I didn’t know at the time was that this is the norm. And not just in fashion.
I dove headfirst into the idea of getting funded around my fifth year of my business. I started putting together projections and my numbers, as well as tightening up my business plan, so that I could even stand a chance of getting a meeting with someone.
And I did get a meeting with a friend of a friend. Who very kindly told me - you never have a chance.
Let’s pause for a moment and look at the statistics*:
Women start companies at twice the rate of men, YET female-founded companies get only 13 percent of the total angel financing available.
According to a study by First Round Capital, companies with a woman on the founding team outperform their all-male peers by 63 percent.
Female CEOs get only 2.7 percent of all venture funding, while women of color get virtually none: 0.2 percent.
6 percent of venture capitalists are women (this number has decreased from 11 percent in 1999).
Women currently control 39 percent of the country's investable assets, some $11.2 trillion. By 2020 that is expected to reach equilibrium.
So, let’s get this straight. We’re ALMOST equal to men in the amount of investable money that we control…. Yet we only receive a fraction of the dollars available.
Why? Why is it that we have such a huge opportunity for growth, and we seem to be moving backwards in this realm?
For starters, women’s spending habits are constantly marginalized and laughed at by our society leaving women without the confidence to spend their money. We’re told that we should “just go back to the mall” or “buy this because it’s pink.” We are continually talked down to regarding our money decisions. It’s incredibly difficult for us to get financial advice without a side serving of patronization. Which, by the way, we did not order.
So, of course we don’t feel confident in investing our money. Of course we question our decisions around being or becoming venture capitalists. Of course our doubts and fears go into overdrive when we consider taking a stand with our purchasing power.
It’s 2016 and we’re still essentially told that our place is in the home. “Just focus on buying toilet paper and leave the real money decisions to the men.” #AmIRight
I’m over it.
We are the ones who have the opportunity to continue to bolster the economy and generate new prosperity in the world. And it’s going to take all of us coming together to make it happen. Because this is what women do best - collaboration at its finest.
Thanks to some divine intervention, I sat on a panel with Delilah Panio about a month ago and learned of an opportunity to become a collaborator in this crucial economic turning point. Delilah is the Los Angeles lead for SheEO - whose mission is a call for #radicalgenerosity asking women to step up and commit $1,000 each to create a pool of capital to be distributed to selected SheEO-run businesses in the form of 0% interest loans.
I was an immediate YES. Imagine 1000 women coming together to create a $1 million fund. Imagine the impact it could create in the lives of female entrepreneurs. And the ripple effect it would have on those women’s families, and employees, and communities, and our world at large.
If you are feeling called to take action after the recent current events - this is your opportunity. Each of us has the chance to make an impact in the lives of others. And, especially now, the lives of our fellow women + female entrepreneurs.
We are not going to rise by doing it alone. We’re only going to create change by supporting each other to be better and do better in the world. Join me in becoming an activator and let’s keep the needle moving forward in our favor.
*These stats were gathered from Inc. Magazine’s New Face of Funding article.