Updated: Sep 30, 2022
I booked a trip to Austin recently in an attempt to meet the future investing partner that gets Le Village Cowork and why our model is so important. I debated SXSW, but I know the value that a bunch of ambitious working mamas and women in one room can bring, so instead of hitting up the tech-bros at SXSW, I headed towards the Female Founders Collective event Female Founders Day: Stars Align.
You can check out my little reel to catch the flavor–but it was cresting over with stylish, excited working women that were founders and fundraisers–many of them mothers. It was hard not to surf on the tide of fierce discussion and fiery positivity. I met so many amazing people. It never ceases to surprise me how other fabulous women can really fill my cup and drive me forward.
The sessions were focused on the task before us. I sat in a session with Ana Flores and Vanessa Santos from #WEALLGROW LATINA where they reported that women own $18 TRILLION in global spending power. And yet female owned businesses receive only 3% of US startup venture capital. Only 1.7% of women-owned businesses hit the $1M mark in revenue due to lack of support and funding. They then outlined how to overcome these obstacles personally and continue to drive yourself forward as business-owners. As my local mama-owned-businesses like to remind me at Le Village, put your own oxygen mask on first and I was grateful to have Carrie Covert a Le Village mame and a female-founder who made the move to ATX, there with me.
Neha Govindraj from Bonside investments (a Chicago-based firm HOLLAAAA) talked in length about the different paths to growth outside of venture capitalism, and the pros and cons to each–be it loans, crowdfunding, or grants. They are doing something new and unique to invest in businesses over at Bonside which sounds like a crossroads between VC and Private Investment, and I can’t wait to see it come to life for them. I am excited to chat with Neha in the next few weeks and learn even more.
Overall, I affirmed what I suspected. It’s not that women don’t want to grow–it’s just that we still aren’t in control of our board-rooms and we aren’t getting seen. A recent Forbes report stated that 66% of women reported significant challenges getting funded, and 63% never will. Oy.
It wasn’t all without hope, however. Kendra Scott and her investing platform closed out the seminar portion with her incredible story of overcoming the odds as a woman and a mother. She is a true success story and her charm and grit is immediately apparent. I loved getting to hear her speak. She closed the evening with this statement
“I am excited. Now we have so many venture firms, (or) private equity, coming in to support female founded businesses, not because they just want to be nice, (but) because female-founded businesses are more successful than male founded businesses!”
It was a mic-drop moment. And women owned businesses are more successful! That same Forbes article I referenced earlier stated
“Women-owned businesses respond louder to our dire needs because they generally drive more meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives…but they’re also more profitable.Companies with at least one female executive board member perform better than those that boast male-only boards, regardless of their products and services, according to a Grant Thornton study. In fact, the research estimated the opportunity cost for the latter companies at $655 billion in 2014.“
So, VC’s, ya’ll can still make your millions even though not every business is a widget or an app. Okay? Dang.
So why can’t we cross this bridge?
The answer is that we can–but as per usual, women are going to have to work harder and longer to get there. But that’s okay, because we aren’t going anywhere. I’m certainly not, and neither are the countless other female owned small businesses at Female Founders Stars Aligned. I talked with so many of them working so hard and it was truly awe-inspiring.
I wasn’t sure how helpful the event was going to be, but I made countless connections and left with 2 investing partner contacts–and hey–it only takes one right? This event could be what changes–not just everything for me as a female founder, but that could catapult Le Village, and as a result, change the face of the modern workforce for working women across the country.
And that is just the push I needed. Look out world. Here I come.