Tag Archives: women

Why Crowdfunding Is A Gamechanger For Texas Startups

Why Crowdfunding Is A Gamechanger For Texas Startups

By | June 24, 2015 | Fort Work Blog

It’s true. Almost anyone can become an investor in a startup thanks to the Texas State Securities Board, which approved the rules to regulate the way startups and investors conduct equity crowdfunding. As a result, more than 20 million unaccredited investors will soon be able to invest up to $5,000 per year in equity investments for small businesses raising under $1 million. The equity crowdfunding rules are important to Texas because of the many startups — especially technology companies — relying on investment capital to grow. Two companies in Texas have successfully raised capital using Texas’ new equity crowdfunding portals. The new regulation will help small, midsize, and high growth companies raise the capital they need to take their company to the next level. Additionally, crowdfunding will spawn innovation, prove business models and create new jobs. This new rule presents a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors and the great state of Texas. “In order for equity crowdfunding to work effectively for all, we need more education for issuers and investors in the business community,” states Cynthia Nevels founder of Thinkcrowdfund.com

Are you interested in learning more? We invite you to join us to hear from the experts on how the new rules work, meet leaders from approved equity crowdfunding portals and network with investors. RSVP here: http://bit.ly/ThinkCrowdFund

Kerry Washington’s Speech Could Inspire More Women to Crowdfund

Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP

Kerry Washington was recently awarded the 2014 Crystal Award for Excellence in Television in Los Angeles, California. Her work as the fearless leader of Pope and Associates on ABCs Scandal is now in its fourth season. During the award gala this month, Washington shared a speech that struck a nerve of truth that resonated with many women across the nation. Women normally shy away from being open risk takers because of their fear of failing publicly. Being perceived as less than perfect can sometimes paralyze women who want to start their own business, raise capital or fulfill their passion.

The effort to start a new business and to raise capital using online crowdfunding platforms is not an option for some because women generally believe everything has to be perfect before taking on the risk. For those who believe crowdfunding is an option, they typically will not set a goal of half a million dollars initially. Women entrepreneurs tend to shy away from asking for the true investment amount needed to launch their businesses.

According to Dr. Richard Swart, Director of Research for the University of California, Berkeley’s Program for Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance, 84% of men use crowdfunding as a tool for raising capital in a public setting. Women certainly use crowdfunding as a source for social finance but in far lower numbers.  Women often tend to set lower goals for their crowdfunding campaigns yet are more successful at achieving the goals set.

Moola-Hoop.com co-founder, Brenda Bazan, launched a crowdfunding platform and designed it with women entrepreneurs in mind. Her goal was to help thousands of women realize their dreams by providing a path to fund their business and creative ideas. “Women tend to under sell and over perform which is appropriate for crowdfunding,” shares Bazan in a recent interview on Disrupt Radio.

Research shows start-ups and new ventures that successfully raise capital via crowdfunding typically will find it easier to raise or have access to additional capital from angel investors, venture capitalists and other traditional mechanisms of financing. Investors are typically looking for the dramatic vision and the rich story of how the idea will grow. But, women fail to tell their stories or talk about themselves in front of investors due to the fear of making a mistake.

Washington dispelled the notion of women feeling they have to be perfect. In her speech given on June 11, 2014. Washington shared,

We as women put ourselves in this situation of feeling like we can’t take a risk, like in order to step out there we have to be perfect, because we’re scared that if we don’t say the right thing, or do the right thing, that we’ll reflect poorly on ourselves and our community, whether that community be women, people of color, both.

Helping women recognize the true opportunity that exists in the market today will be vitally important to further development of women-owned microenterprises, job creation and an increase in economic development in local communities. Creating an ecosystem that welcomes women crowdfunders who have innovative ideas and disruptive companies is the responsibility of all stakeholders. Women, like Cate Blanchett, the winner of the 2014 Crystal Award for Excellence in Film, should be celebrated for their words of wisdom. When analyzing the data, men continue to outnumber women when it comes to high paying jobs and raising capital for start-ups.

The problem, however, is not with the system per se, it is the mindset of the women. Washington went further to point out the need for change,

“[Women] need to be willing to be uncomfortable, to be flawed, to be imperfect, to own our voice, to step into our light, so that we can continue to inspire other people and employ other people, and make room for more and more voices and presence.”

If more women start to see successful female business owners overcome their fear of failure, take on more risks and build strong enterprises others just may follow and the crowd will cheer them on.

Disruptive Mobile App Helps Houston Nonprofit Connect with Small Businesses

GPC 2014“This new app is a game changer for small businesses looking to connect with decision-makers,” says Raynese Edwards, Houston-based Business Strategist. Today, Government Procurement Connections, Inc. (GPC), a Houston-based nonprofit agency hosted its inaugural State of Procurement event at Houston Community College’s Southeast campus’ Learning HUB. Hundreds of small business owners attended the event to learn more about multi billion dollar government contracting opportunities.

“Last year, the Federal government spent $500 billion dollars on products and services and 23 percent was awarded to minority, veteran and woman-owned prime contractors and sub-contractors,” stated Valerie Coleman, Procurement Center Representative for the United States Small Business Administration. But, most innovative small businesses continue to find the government procurement process to be daunting and confusing. There’s a disconnect between agency purchasing managers looking to purchase products and services and the vast number of viable vendors ready and able to sell products and services to them. This year, GPC subscribed to a new mobile technology which was created by a woman-owned firm to solve that very problem. Integrality and a team of engineers designed a niche mobile engagement app called meap3, Mobile Engagement Application for Procurement and Purchasing Professionals. “As a woman-owned small business, I know the challenges that exist in making a connection with decision-makers and selling your capabilities to win new business. I wanted to create a product that removes the barriers and creates an instant way to engage and connect with procurement professionals,” shared Cynthia Nevels, meap3 designer and Senior Partner with Integrality, LLC.

20140417-155050.jpgThe meap3 app empowers users and enables them to register to connect with agency presenters real-time, to engage with agencies, share their capabilities, to view active RFPs and RFQs and share data with their social network. Over 300 attendees were introduced to the new mobile app with overwhelming buzz and excitement. Users can download the iOS or Android app for free via their smart phone or wireless notebook online at meap3.com. Premier Wireless sponsored a $250 gift card giveaway to registered users. The campaign ends April 30, 2014. Talk is Houston Independent School District is interested in integrating the new technology into their procurement outreach program. Disruptive technology and social enterprises are coming together to solve everyday business challenges – that’s innovation at its best.

4/8/14 – Moving Women-Owned Businesses Forward

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