By Concetta Rand, Chief Revenue Officer, IFundWomen
It is a well-established, albeit unfortunate, reality that women in this country struggle to access capital for their businesses. In the venture world, women get 2-6% of all investment dollars. When women do receive venture funding, they operate with half of the working capital of their male peers. And when it comes to small business loans, women receive smaller loans for higher interest rates.
Yet, female entrepreneurship is growing in the United States at a higher rate than any other economically developed country. One out of every ten women is an entrepreneur. Today, women-owned businesses have a three trillion dollar economic impact that leads to the creation and/or maintenance of 23 million jobs.
To unleash the full potential of female entrepreneurs, we need to change the funding dynamic and tools available to them.
iFundWomen was founded for the express purpose of providing a fundraising ecosystem for entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. Navigating a new business and the experimentation process that comes with it can be lonely, but with access to startup capital, coaching and connections, it can be an exciting and inspiring journey. iFundWomen provides entrepreneurs the resources and community they need to thrive, through fundraising, coaching and video production services, and connections.
This past week, we launched iFundWomen Raleigh, with support from The City of Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development, Pendo, Red Hat and Ward and Smith. iFundWomen Raleigh is a one-stop destination for men and women who want to contribute to launching and growing female-led businesses in the Triangle and Triad region through financial contributions of any amount. Backers can discover and share businesses, choose among unique rewards, and track the financial progress of campaigns. Raleigh is one of the first regions in the nation to have a crowdfunding platform that helps residents invest in and support local, women entrepreneurs, in growing their businesses.
Today, nearly 20 truly amazing women-led local businesses are crowdfunding on the Triangle region’s dedicated site: www.ifundwomen.com/raleigh
Among them are,
– A modern-day hidden figure developing a blockchain app for processing lower-cost global payments
– A made-to-measure fashion company bringing jobs and production to the Southeast
– Eco friendly, natural tick and insect repellent products
– Our first Mother-Daughter team
– Our first Wife and Husband team
These businesses are offering products and services that are truly game-changing, but these entrepreneurs cannot do it alone. They are leaning in to the support of their communities, and to people who care about supporting their local economies, to provide capital so they can grow.
There are several ways we can all get involved and support local businesses.
1) Contribute to a local Entrepreneur’s campaign – there are rewards for every interest and price point.
2) Contribute to the Raleigh-Durham Accelerator Pool – a fund that will be divided among high-performing local campaigns. As you know, crowdfunding is when an entrepreneur raises money from her personal network and this is inherently a 1% luxury to be able to ask friends and family for money. iFundWomen aims to level the playing field and provide opportunities for high-performing entrepreneurs with lower-income networks to raise money.
4) Tell interested local entrepreneurs to apply! The platform will continue to add campaigns on a rolling basis.
One entrepreneur at a time, one business at a time, we can move forward together.
iFundWomen is a fundraising ecosystem for women-led startups and small businesses, founded by a former Google/YouTube executive, Karen Cahn. The platform offers one-on-one crowdfunding coaching and video-production services to entrepreneurs. Core to its pay-it-forward model, iFundWomen directly reinvests 20% of its profits from standard fees into live projects on the site.