Access to capital remains one of the greatest barriers for women trying to launch, scale, and grow their businesses. As the government’s only independent voice on economic issues impacting women entrepreneurs, access to financial capital remains at the forefront of the NWBC’s agenda. That’s why this past March, in honor of Women’s History Month, the National Women’s Business Council hosted its second quarter public meeting in Fiscal Year 2018 on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, from 2:00pm ET to 3:30pm ET titled Accelerating Access to Capital: Crowdfunding as a Solution to Fund HER Business.
This public meeting kicked off with a featured keynote from Kathy McShane, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership oversees the Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), a network of over 100 educational centers throughout the United States and its territories. The Women’s Business Centers, one of SBA’s resource partners, are designed to assist women, provide comprehensive training and counseling on a variety of topics needed to start and grow small businesses. As of 2017, the WBCs worked with over 150,000 women entrepreneurs and counseled over 1.4 million people. Over two million clients have also worked with WBCs since its birth in 1988, and those numbers continue to grow as the program expands even further. To learn about the latest news from the Office of Women’s Business Ownership please visit https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/wbo. You can also find YOUR Women’s Business Center here: https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/wbc.
Following the keynote, Council Members Kim Blackwell and Deborah Rosado Shaw shared updates on NWBC’s communications, engagement, and research activities that took place during the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2018. There were quite the number of activities that took place, but here are some key updates you can check out:
Our Associate Director of Policy and Research, Dolores Rowen, then presented an overview on the Council’s two reports on crowdfunding. Both of these reports shed light on lending and reward-based crowdfunding platforms for women entrepreneurs by attempting to determine the role of a women entrepreneur’s social network in promoting her success in crowdfunding and some of the other predictors of women entrepreneurs’ successes in crowdfunding as an avenue for accessing capital. Some of the most notable results (success factors) from both research reports include:
If you’re interested in learning more about these findings, read and download both reports here.
After the foundation on crowdfunding was set, Council Member Jen Earle moderated a discussion on Crowdfunding as a Solution to Fund HER Business with representatives from Kiva and Kickstarter. Representing Kickstarter was Clarissa Redwine, Design and Technology Outreach Lead at Kickstarter, and representing Kiva was Lily Vail, Columbus Program Lead. During the discussion, both speakers shared ways women are using these sources to meet their business capital needs and spoke further on how NWBC’s research findings relate to their work and the broader impact of crowdfunding. Both guests also emphasized how women entrepreneurs are strongly utilizing their unique skillsets such as community building and storytelling to expand their networks and gauge deepened interest in their businesses – significantly contributing to rising success rates on their crowdfunding campaigns.
Finally, we ended our meeting by publicly acknowledging two beloved Council Members who will be rolling off the Council in March and April respectively – Dr. Marsha Firestone who represents the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and Deborah Rosado Shaw who is a small business owner. We thanked them both for their tremendous service to the Council in supporting women entrepreneurs.
As we concluded Women’s History Month with this Public Meeting, we invite you to join us in looking ahead and re-establishing a baseline understanding of current issues, opportunities, resources and gaps impacting women business owners – such as Access to Capital.
Don’t forget to download and read our latest research reports on Access to Capital at www.nwbc.gov. Additionally, you can also join the conversation online using the hashtag #Capital4HerBiz.
Author: Cristina Flores, Associate Director of Public Affairs for the National Women’s Business Council