This region now has more than 10 angel investor groups with high net worth individuals, many of whom are former entrepreneurs, that invest their own money in the next big idea from tech to tea.
“Women’s pursuit of social entrepreneurship can be an important engine for the economy, particularly in the United States,” according to a 2017 report by the National Women’s Business Council.
Nina Roque, Executive Director of the National Women’s Business Council offers the National Women’s Business Council and the Association of Women’s Business Centers as possible hotspots for training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities. According to Roque, Latina entrepreneurs account for 17 percent of the total of women-owned businesses across the United States. “On average, Latinas start about 401 new business per day!” she shares.
I want to introduce you to our guest today, who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.
Liz Sara, Chair of National Women’s Business Council.
1). Tell us about your business and what you do?
During my career, I’ve been involved in a number of technology startup companies. At the time, none of us thought of them as ‘startups’ because that label simply was not part of the business lexicon. We were merely working in companies that were new and doing very disruptive things. This was in the 80s and 90s during the very early days of the online world. Many people were completely unfamiliar with the idea of doing anything ‘online.’ My role was always in marketing, strategy, sales — the business side, not the technical side. I figured out the target customer, the price strategy, the sales model, and so on. I co-founded a company called SpaceWorks, which initially offered a platform for business information. I later pivoted that company into the exploding eCommerce sector in the late 90s. We built that company to $25 million with about 300 employees in just a few years. There were not many women founders in tech back then. After we sold it, I did marketing strategy consulting as an interim step until I decided on my next startup. That was in 2001. I founded Best Marketing LLC, and I’ve been doing marketing strategy ever since. My clients, nearly 100 companies, are all business to business software companies. I’ve helped launch products, grow revenue, and gain market traction for a lot of groundbreaking products that change business processes and job functions in very fundamental ways. Recently, I was appointed as the Chair of the National Women’s Business Council. It’s a federal advisory council with a unique focus on advocating for female founders across the country. Our mission is to provide recommendations to Congress, The White House, and the SBA on programs, actions, and legislative efforts that would help women start companies or grow the ones they launched. As Chair, I’ve picked three issues that we are tackling: access to capital, encouraging more women to start STEM-related companies, and eliminating obstacles facing women in rural communities. In December, we publish our annual report with recommendations in each of these areas.
The very notion of entrepreneur has become associated with a sexist, exclusionary culture, one where women are treated with hostility. In addition, there is the very real bias that exists when women entrepreneurs seek funding; female CEOs get only 2.7% of all venture funding. Moreover, a report by the National Women’s Business Council notes that “Compared with men, women business owners raise smaller amounts of capital to finance their firms and are more reliant on personal, rather than external, sources of financing.”
Forbes reports the National Women’s Business Council is collaborating with federal lawmakers to address the issue, by creating an angel investor tax credit that would serve as an incentive.
While the two reports points to great strides for women-owned businesses, Liz Sara, National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) chair, thinks that it also speaks to “some of the major challenges that we’re trying to overcome to make it easier for women.” One major problem that persists: raising capital.
Read the full article on Forbes HERE
“Looking at the levels of women in executive leadership positions, unfortunately the percentage is lower than male executives,” Nina Roque, executive director of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), told the Business Journal. “While we have seen that increase in recent years, women entrepreneurs are relying on mentorship at the executive level from both men and women.” The NWBC is a nonpartisan federal advisory body to the president, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.