We had a great Public Meeting last week – and are excited to share a brief recap with you.
But before we get to that, I want to reiterate our thanks to three of our beloved Council Members who have joined us for their final Council meeting and will be cycling off the Council: Kristie Arslan, Shelly Kapoor Collins and Laura Yamanaka. Thank you for your tremendous service to the work of the Council in supporting women entrepreneurs, giving us critical insights on our research endeavors and policy recommendations, and aiding us with our public engagement efforts.
Council Member Kimberly Blackwell kicked us off with a roll call and overview of our agenda. She and Anne Shybunko-Moore shared brief updates on our newest research findings, followed by updates on our engagement and communication efforts.
On the research front, we mentioned the release of our Research on Women’s Participation in Corporate Supplier Diversity Programs, Part 1. This report details findings from a first-of-its-kind survey of over 800 woman-owned businesses with at least $25,000 in annual revenues, specifically designed to illuminate women business owners’ experiences with corporate supplier diversity programs. The report highlights factors that facilitate or impede women business owners’ participation in private sector supplier diversity programs, and offers preliminary recommendations for how to improve such connections. The outcomes of this research study will be of particular interest to business owners seeking to supply with large corporations, corporations themselves, and policy-makers at all levels. For our Black Women Entrepreneurs Project, both of our research sessions and expert panels were completed earlier this month in Houston, TX and New York City – the two cities chosen for this research analysis. This project will be completed late summer, and is likely the first in a series on minority women in entrepreneurship.
In addition, the Council is also convening a series of town halls around the country to convene key stakeholders including: entrepreneurs, government officials, business support resources, professional organizations, universities, investors, media representatives, and others — to discuss the successes and challenges their communities have faced in supporting high-growth women entrepreneurs. Thus far, we have hosted sessions in San Francisco, Miami, Chicago and St. Louis. Our final two sessions will be in Boston in mid-July and Atlanta, the first week of August. We are also studying women’s participation in accelerator and incubator programs. We currently closed our three surveys– thank you to the more than 1,000 respondents, as well as those who helped spread the word. We’re now in the process of interviewing women entrepreneurs, women graduates of these business programs, and program managers in the upcoming months – we look forward to releasing a full report later this year on our findings. Later this summer, the Council will announce which projects we will take on for fiscal year 2017. Stay on the lookout for what is ahead!
The Council’s Engagement efforts included the White House Council on Women and Girls’ Women and Entrepreneurship Event, which started with a never before seen screening of “Dream, Girl” – a documentary film that showcases inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs. The Council was proud to represent this collective voice during the lead up to the United State of Women Summit and is proud to continue to be the voice for entrepreneurs as the dialogue continues. We kicked off this past quarter by having the honor of testifying before one of our stakeholders – the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access for the “Bridging the Gap – Increasing Access to Venture Capital for Small Businesses” hearing back in April. During the 2016 National Small Business Week in May, we celebrated women-owned and women-led businesses through the power of storytelling. We launched #HerOwnBoss – Student Edition with a blog post on entrepreneurship among university students and recent graduates. The Council also headed out to New York City to launch “Her Own Boss: NYC Edition”, a dynamic panel event featuring local women entrepreneurs and leaders in business paving the way. National Small Business Week also served as a great time for the Council’s release of our Gender Differences in U.S. Fact Sheet and the Industry Differences by Gender Fact Sheet. At the end of June, we also released our most recent fact sheet: Small Business Ownership by Age.
Special Remarks by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Anzhela Knyazeva, senior financial economist at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission joined to update the Council, all of the entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders on the line about the implications of the new crowdfunding rules that took effect on May 16, 2016.
Grow Her Business: A Resource for Start-up to Scale-up
After surveying the entrepreneurial ecosystem for high-growth women entrepreneurs, and conducting many conversations with our stakeholders, the Council identified a need to develop an entrepreneurship resource platform for growth-minded women entrepreneurs. We got to work developing and designing a potential solution – and the result is an online resource platform for the growth of women-owned businesses. The Council released the much anticipated searchable repository of nearly 200 premiere, growth-oriented programs on Thursday, June 30th. During the public meeting, we offered an in-depth look and tutorial of our resource. A few highlights included:
We are thrilled to share this site with you, and to have you explore, connect to resources, and share your feedback. Make sure to visit the site at www.womenbizinfo.sites.usa.gov. To learn more on our methodology for building this repository, you can also download the complete report. And, in case you missed it last week, you can learn more about the site by checking out the exclusive article on Fortune.
Panel Discussion: Strategies to Scale-up
There has been much media and cultural attention paid to America’s start-up culture. The Council’s portfolio reflects that. For the June public meeting, we wanted to shine light on another critical stage of building a business: the scale-up.
We know two things: success stories matter and scaling a business is no easy task. Successful scaling requires recognizing new priorities and deemphasizing old ones, while moving at a breakneck pace. It requires financing strategies that enable nimble responses to new challenges. This is the reason why we had Laura Yamanaka, Co-Founder and President of teamCFO, Inc; Kim Wales, Founder and CEO of Wales Capital and CrowdBureau LLC, Laura Zander; Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Jimmy Beans Wool, and Kari Warberg Block, CEO, Founder, and Farmer in Charge of Earth-Kind join us for a dynamic and insightful panel to discuss and find valuable solutions to the challenges of scaling-up. Here are a few takeaways:
“You have to make money, but it's not always the first criteria when you reach a certain level.” – Laura Yamanaka
“A journey of 1,000 miles begins at a single step.” – Kim Wales
“Our new tagline is we're taking a DIY approach to building a DIY business.”- Laura Zander
Special thanks again to Anzhela Khaveza of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for stopping by and to Kari Warberg-Block, Laura Yamanaka, Kim Wales, and Laura Zander for participating in the panel. Again, the full live stream of our June Public Meeting is posted online here. And don’t forget to visit our new resource platform at https://womenbizinfo.sites.usa.gov/.