According to this piece from The Guardian, there has been a marked increase in black women launching their own ventures over the past few years. Some of the increase is attributed to challenges from the pandemic and some to historical gender/race pay disparity in the workplace. That said, the article also shares that black women have a long history of entrepreneurship and the pandemic is forcing the world to recognize that. Per the article, “women of color make up only 39% of women in the US but represent 89% of new women-owned businesses. Within that demographic, Black women are leading the charge at 42% of new women-owned businesses, followed by Latina women at 31%.”
Category: Business Skills
Legal Resources – for Free
The Legal module in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Certificate program provides a host of downloadable resources and tools for entrepreneurs but in that limited two-week course, there are many more nuanced legal items that couldn’t be covered. This list of free resources – offered through the small, woman-owned legal firm of Trellis Legal provides a fabulous assortment of tools at no cost.
Funding Opportunities in 2022
We are noticing a lot of regional and local grant opportunities being offered to small business owners as funding from the American Rescue Plan Act trickles down from the federal to state to local levels for distribution.
We will keep this spreadsheet updated with new opportunities that we find. Check back each day and see if one will work for you!
3 Ways the Government Is Stepping Up to Support Small Business in 2022
According to this article from Inc., small businesses can look for support from the US Government (via the Small Business Administration) in three areas:
1. Help with securing federal contracts (there will be higher procurement goals for small businesses businesses-especially those run by women, veterans and those located in historically underutilized business zones
2. Added money for resources (allocating additional funds for the agency’s staffing needs may help alleviate some of the customer service and processing glitches the agency encountered during the pandemic)
3. Elevating women-owned businesses (The SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership will now report directly to the Office of the Administrator)
Biden Administration Announces Reforms Level Playing Field for Underserved Small Business Owners
This December 2, 2021 release from the White House highlights that while the US federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, less than 10 percent of those federal contracting dollars typically go to small disadvantaged businesses (SBDs). In addition, while women own roughly 20 percent of all US small businesses, less than 5 percent of federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses. This press piece also shares information about a new set of reforms to the federal procurement process to help meet the current administration’s target of increasing the share of federal contracts to SDBs during Fiscal Year 2022 to 11 percent.
Polishing Your Pitch
Kat Weaver completed the Women’s Entrepreneurship certificate program in early 2020 and just wrote in to tell us how much she learned and how it helped propel her to start her second company, Power To Pitch. Kat wanted to share some of her wisdom with the students in our program and we are so thankful that she graciously agreed to let us post her advice on our website. Kat states:
Are you making these pitch presentation mistakes?
If you’ve positioned yourself for an opportunity in front of an investor, retailer, or to pitch at a business competition you might only have one chance to make a lasting impression.
I’ve seen the same mistakes made over and over, essentially costing great business ideas and their owners, funding, partnerships, and opportunities.
My name is Kat and I’m the founder of Power to Pitch. I started my first business, Locker Lifestyle in college after being a victim of theft. I had no money to launch so I entered every pitch competition I could find, eventually winning all 22 of them.
After receiving hundreds of questions from individuals asking how I won six figures worth of equity-free funding, I founded Power To Pitch to help entrepreneurs build the confidence to pitch themselves to success.
Here are my top tips to get yourself ahead of the competition:
- LEAD WITH YOUR STORY, WHY, OR INSPIRATION: I see most entrepreneurs lead with the explanation of their product or service which does not hook or emotionally connect with the audience. I coach every business owner I work with to start with their story. Whether it’s a grant judge, investor or retailer you’re looking to impress, think of the number of pitches they hear all day. What will stick out? Think – they’re investing in YOU as an individual before your business.
- TALK COMPETITION. Most business owners are afraid to bring up their top competitors. Instead, think of this as an opportunity to put yourself ahead. I don’t recommend outright bashing who they are and what they do. Instead, talk about their core offerings, THEN lead into how you’re better. Be as specific as possible to showcase that you’re aware of the market you serve.
- WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THE MONEY? One of the biggest mistakes I see is the lack of specificity when talking about the allocation of funding. If you’re pitching for a grant or to an investor, they will want to know EXACTLY what you need the money for and how it will be used. For example, if you’re applying for a $10k grant and you say “we need it for marketing, web development, and packaging”, you’ve already lost your audience. You need to be as specific as possible when describing your business needs. The more detail you can give, the more confidence they will have in you. Instead, say something along the lines of “we need $2,500 for ad spend in Facebook marketing to reach x demographic in x time with a goal ROAS of x. We need $5,400 to hire a developer to optimize the homepage and checkout of our website to optimize our sales funnel for x amount of customers driven to our site each month.” and so on.
There is no EXACT formula to writing a pitch, but by avoiding these mistakes, you are already ahead of the competition!
Many thanks to Kat for sharing her wisdom with us and allowing us to post it on our site. If you want to learn more about Kat and her pitch competition tips, head to www.powertopitch.com.
Bank of America Launches Capital Directory for Women Entrepreneurs
Bank of America, in partnership with Seneca Women, announced the launch of the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory. This platform was created to help educate women-owned businesses in the U.S. on navigating the capital landscape and identify potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt and grant capital. Click here to read the press release. Click here to access the directory.
Interview with Yael Vizel on the $200MM sale of Zeekit
Yael Vizel is the founder of the startup, Zeekit, which uses artificial intelligence to enable customers to try on clothes via a virtual platform. Vizel is also one of the only Israeli women to seal a nine-figure exit deal with an acquirer (in this case Walmart). This article shares a fascinating interview with her as she discusses the deal and also the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur.
COVID’s Impact on Women’s Finances
Sallie Krawcheck, one of the highest-ranking women on Wall Street from positions at Bank of America and Citigroup, is the CEO of Ellevest, a digital financial company for women that she co-founded in 2014. In this interview with NPR’s “Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal, she shared thoughts on what the COVID pandemic has specifically meant for women’s personal finances.
According to Krawcheck, “if pay is what you bring in, wealth is what you have and keep.” Prior to COVID, women’s wealth was approximately 32 cents to a white man’s dollar – and only one penny if only considering Black women. In this discussion, Krawcheck mentions how this has only become more severe during the pandemic and also shares strategies to close the gender wealth gap.
Business Accelerator Designed For Women Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs has partnered with PenFed Foundation to launch its Military “Women Veteran Bootcamp Accelerator”. The six-month long program is designed for women who have 3-5 years of experience in business and are seeking to grow their venture. To learn more about this program and others available to women veteran-owned small businesses, check out the US Department of Veterans Affairs website here.