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Gina Ference to share insights and expertise at the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit

Gina Ference, along with other women leaders, to speak at the Latinas in Business 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. 

Gina Ference is the Managing Director and Head of Business Development, Marketing and Client Relationship Management for OneTeam Financial, LLC

Gina enthusiastically dedicates her professional life to building authentic relationships with  everyone that she encounters and is devoted to enhancing the lives of those around her and advocating to bring them valuable opportunities that can help them live the lives they always imagined.

In her current role, Gina manages the OneTeam Financial’s client relationship activities, employee development, and building relationships with strategic partners to continue growing the firm’s presence and service offerings throughout their community.

“Educate patiently. Advocate passionately. Inspire consistently,” is a mantra that Gina subscribes to as she works to make a difference in the lives of others.

Throughout her career, Gina has lived by that mantra and worked to improve the lives of others. 

For more than two decades, she served as an investigator at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. While there, she worked feverishly to protect seniors and victims of all ages from unfair practices. 

In addition to her professional work, she is also an active member of the community. Gina is on the board of directors for the American Red Cross – New Jersey Region and a Youth Fundraising Coordinator for Holiday Express, a non-profit that works to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the holiday season and throughout the year. She is also an active advocate for empowering women through her work and partnership with the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO) Chapter AX-NJ and B.I.G.


2022 WEES

Join us at the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit

Gina will speak alongside other women leaders at the 2022 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. The summit takes place on June 24, 2022, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm at the co-host Berkeley College’s Mid-Manhattan Campus. 

Tickets are still available but space is limited for this exclusive event. 

Save your spot: REGISTER NOW! 

From 11:30 am to 2:30 pm ET, the Panel Speakers will address the 2022 theme, “SUCCEED! How Women Entrepreneurs Make It in America,” which alludes to the struggle that minority women entrepreneurs and female founders face to start and expand their businesses in an environment of discrimination and barriers to opportunities. 

“Expertise paired with determination, focus, and collaboration is the formula for success!” says Gina.

The panel, The Three Pillars of Women Success: Personal Power, Financial Wellness, and Business Innovation will dive into the stories of four women leaders, sharing key insights and expertise on how they achieved success in their careers. 

Become part of our Latina Inner Circle Membership!

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Monika Mantilla

“Diversity is a value, a principle, and a source of transformational power,” says Altura Capital co-founder, Monika Mantilla

Monika Mantilla is the co-founder of Altura Capital, an investment firm dedicated to transforming societies through entrepreneurial success. Altura specializes in the small and lower-middle markets with an emphasis on investments in low- and moderate-income (LMI) businesses, and those with diverse ownership.

Monika has dedicated the last 25 years of her life to her passion: pursuing societal transformation through entrepreneurial success by providing capital and expanding opportunity for promising entrepreneurs.

She is actively involved in public policy dialogues and action-oriented impact initiatives with Government, Corporations, Foundations and Institutional Investors and is a trusted advisor to many CEOs, corporations and government agencies, through which she lives her deep belief in the power of collaboration to build stronger communities and companies.

Monika Mantilla

Monika Mantilla, co-founder of Altura Capital. (Photo via Altura Capital)

Monika’s career began practicing law after earning her J.D. from the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia. She then moved into managerial roles for a company in Colombia before moving to the United States where she began developing a deep interest in finance. This led her to attaining her MBA from Columbia Business School. After working at an investment-management consulting firm for some time and becoming partner with the firm, she decided to found Altura Capital with her husband in 2005. 

“I launched Altura Capital because I have a passion for helping underserved communities, particularly as it relates to the important businesses in those ecosystems. I love listening to business owners’ stories and helping them solve their biggest challenges as a partner, an advisor and a friend,” says Monika. 

Diverse entrepreneurs are her favorite entrepreneurs, she tells Latinas in Business, and it is her responsibility to bridge the gap that exists in serving these communities across the US and Puerto Rico. 

“Many people think that helping diverse owned businesses is helping micro businesses only. That certainly is an important part of the diverse community, but there are scalable and pioneering companies in different industries with great value add that historically have also been disconnected from Capital and Strategic resources,” she says. 

“They create jobs, and they can be a significant engine of the US economy. Those are the ones we focus on and invest in. I wish more foundations and institutional investors focused on this segment and its incredible value to the economy.”

In recent years we have seen a push across all industries to elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion. More and more companies are seeing the importance and value in supporting diverse businesses and increasing diversity in leadership, boardrooms, and teams. 

“DEI advancement is at the forefront of every major organization in the world because diversity is a value, a principle, a source of transformational power, and it’s a growing power in the US,” says Monika. 

“Organizations that want to meet their customers’ needs cannot ignore the varying demographics of their target markets. I have been involved in several organizations, like NAA, because institutions move markets, public policies and investment policies. They are a force for good, and we need to support our institutions and help them to become lasting through endowments and the right leadership.” 

Watch Monika speak about access to capital for small businesses below! 

Monika is doing her part to create opportunities for diverse founders and business owners. Guided by her conviction that small and diverse businesses need much stronger financial solutions and access to corporate markets, Monika co-founded Small Business Community Capital, one of the few Latina-led SBIC funds in the United States. SBCC and Altura are playing a pivotal role in developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and corporations working together to harness opportunities. In 2020 Monika Co-founded the Altura EOZ strategy, one of the few Qualified Opportunity Zone strategies focused on operating companies. 

Currently, Monika sits on the board of directors for companies including Cidrines, Coastal Painting, 9th Wonder, and is a board observer at Lippe Taylor. She also serves on the board of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (SLEI), where she teaches a capital seminar; the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and the USHCC Foundation, which she chairs; and serves as a Capital Advisor to the Billion Dollar Roundtable. She is a fellow member of the Aspen Latinos in Society program and the author of a chapter in the book Advancing U.S. Latino Entrepreneurship.

Start your entrepreneurial journey with titles on Audible!

Monika and the firms she leads have won numerous awards for their work building financial capacity and strong, scalable businesses in minority and underserved communities. In multiple years, Latino Leaders Magazine recognized her as one of the 101 Most Influential Leaders in Hispanic U.S.A. and one of the Top 15 Latinos in Finance. In 2010 she became the first Latina to ever receive the Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award in Business, the highest honor for Latinos by Latinos.

*This article contains affiliated links. If you use these links to buy an item, we may earn a small commission. 

women give, women money, women charity, women entrepreneur

Key crowdfunding strategies for women entrepreneurs to raise more money

Ramy Elitzur, Associate Professor of Financial Analysis at University of Toronto, shares how women-led businesses can use crowdfunding to launch their startups. 

For a new venture to get off the ground, entrepreneurs require resources and support that greatly enhance the likelihood of its success. Unfortunately, there is still a gender gap in entrepreneurship that means women don’t get the same access to those resources.

In fact, while women make up 51 per cent of the global workforce, their representation as entrepreneurs, according to global crowdfunding statistics, is only 39.5 per cent.

To address this gap, entrepreneurship researcher Eliran Solodoha of Ben Gurion University and I conducted a study in which we analyzed 2,275 rewards-based crowdfunding projects to investigate the impact of the presence of women entrepreneurs and the effects of social validation on their fundraising efforts.

Social validation is a psychological phenomenon in which passive people follow or conform to the actions of others within a group. For example, people are more likely to stop at restaurants with many cars parked outside than those with few cars. Extending this idea to crowdfunding, investors are more likely to commit funds to projects with large numbers of backers and shy away from those with few.

Startups are increasingly turning to crowdfunding to raise financing for their companies. In rewards-based crowdfunding, entrepreneurs seek financing from investors in return for a product or service.

Social validation, crowdfunding success

Social validation is powerful and provides insights into the every-day behaviour of people. For example, research shows that because of social validation, people will often pick an incorrect answer on a vision test — even whey though they know it’s wrong — to conform to the others who publicly picked it.

Additional research shows that participants who read a blog post with fake comments supporting a volunteer activity agree to volunteer for more hours than those who read the same blog with fictitious comments rejecting it.

In a similar manner, potential investors may consider a business venture more attractive when they see others reacting favourably to it.

One of the problems facing women entrepreneurs is that that the entrepreneur’s role is stereotypically viewed as masculine. Consequently, women-led firms face more financing barriers compared to those helmed by men. The question we focused on is whether social validation — specifically, the number of crowdfunding supporters — can reduce the gender gap as companies helmed by women try to raise funds.

We conducted our analysis using standard statistical methods as well as machine learning algorithms that provided a clearer picture of the behaviour of crowdfunding investors.

The importance of crowdfunding backers

Our results showed that, as expected, the fact that a company is led by a woman works against it when it comes to raising financing through crowdfunding. However, our results demonstrated that women-helmed companies can overcome this obstacle and obtain crowdfunding support using social validation.

In other words, if they attract supporters, they can obtain even more supporters. The practical implication is that female entrepreneurs should strive to generate initial support, for example, by raising as much financing as possible at first from their own networks.

Another form of social validation involves the number of comments on a crowdfunding campaign, which can demonstrate the size and scope of an entrepreneur’s social networks — again a positive sign for potential investors.

Our machine learning algorithms also demonstrated that while social validation helps women entrepreneurs obtain financing, it peaks at a certain level. The results show that social validation will increase the probability of crowdfunding success by 14.5 per cent overall in combination with all other variables that include geographic location, the category the venture is in (health, music or food, for example) and prior entrepreneurial experience.

The lack of resources and support for women entrepreneurs lowers their chances of success, and ultimately leads to the under-representation of companies led by women. As we show in our study, this problem can be partially overcome in crowdfunding initiatives by socially validating female-led ventures.The Conversation

You might be interested: Why more minority founders aren’t backed by venture capital funding

Ramy Elitzur, Associate Professor, Financial Analysis, University of Toronto

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Latina entrepreneur

Latina entrepreneur and leader Susana Marino shares key business tips for female founders

Susana Marino is the founder and current President of the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (NOVAHCC), an international business and trade association representing people of all entrepreneurial backgrounds and industries. 

In 2019, Susana Marino was awarded by El Tiempo Latino with Power 100 Meter as one out of 100 most influential Latinos in the region, and August 2020, she was selected to receive the Women Who Mean Business 2020 Award by Washington Business Journal. In addition, she is the national recipient of the Brillante  Award in Entrepreneurship Excellence 2020 by Prospanica. 

Susana Marino, President, and founder of NOVAHCC. (Photo courtesy Susana Marino)

As a first generation Latina and immigrant from Venezuela, Susana is committed to using her platforms to help elevate Latina entrepreneurs and business owners. In her role at NOVAHCC, Susana provides strategic direction for the programs and the Executive Advisory Committee for the chamber, NOVAHCC, delivering the oversight for all organizational operations supporting the growth and prosperity of large and small businesses in northern Virginia. 

Susana decided to launch the NOVAHCC in 2018 to improve the level of access to diversity supplier opportunities for Latinos, and other multi-ethnic businesses in Northern Virginia.  

“In 2017, I researched and discovered that there was not a chamber of commerce in place in the Northern Virginia region to represent the more than thirty-thousand Hispanic businesses.  The Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber was born to attend to the needs of growing the revenue and valuation of our business community,” said Susana. 

A strong pillar of NOVAHCC is to assist small business owners to scale-up their businesses, to make its members procurement ready to participate in the supplier chain ecosystem, and to provide strategic workforce development to people who are currently under-employed and to assist U.S. Veterans with career transition.  

Susana’s oldest son is a former Sgt. in the US Marine Corps, and she understands first hand the challenges our military can face when they transition to the private sector.  

“Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber is a hands-on Think Tank Business Solution Center that seeks to understand first-hand the many challenges our entrepreneurs face, and we strive to stay relevant providing solutions to those challenges with technical assistance, access to capital, relevant up to date training with specific revenue making models.

Susana Marino at the Blockchain Technology Forum, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Susana Marino)

The future of minority owned small businesses beyond the pandemic 

In Latinas in Business’ March 25 virtual panel, “Latinas & Success: What it takes to make it in America”, Susana spoke a bit about the future of small businesses since the pandemic. 

“The world is divided these days by regions, every region is doing things differently, some regions are doing better than others and because of this I always tell my members don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meaning that, if you’re able to expand overseas, that’s an opportunity. The United States has a lot of grants and resources and funding to do so,” Susana said. 

Moving forward, one of the biggest advantages business owners will have during the rebuilding season is their ability to pivot and adapt, and also solidifying a niche to stand out among others.

“This is going to be a new skillset to win in 2022 and beyond. You must know what your uniqueness is. What is your niche? And what problem are you solving with your product, faster, better, and less expensive than your competitors. Ask yourself, what is your business doing that is impressive?” 

Watch the full panel below! 

Another plus that will help Latina entrepreneurs and minority business owners succeed is to lean into and utilize all the resources available to them. 

“The biggest plus of being a minority business owner is the ability and the great opportunity we have to apply to all the certifications applicable and available as a Minority business with the purpose of having a better shot in procurement transactions with the local and federal government, as well as the private sector,” said Susana. 

More from “Latinas & Success”: From backyard chef to restaurant owner, Chef Yala shares her entrepreneurial journey and rise to success

3 key business tips for aspiring Latina entrepreneurs 

“One of the positive outcomes of 2020 is that with the use of technology, we managed to stay connected, and at the Chamber we were able to reach many entrepreneurs beyond our state, region, and country. This is the time for wise decisions. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, and starting a business is tough, not just on the practical grind, but also financially and mentally. Building a business is grueling work, but also exciting, and inspirational, at the same time.” 

To other aspiring Latina entrepreneurs and minority business owners, Susana offers three key tips from lessons learned during the pandemic. 

  1. Finding your passion is not enough these days to keep you afloat. For this reason, finding and communicating your WHY is key. Otherwise, your business stops growing. 
  2. Don’t fall in love with your product, but instead strive every day to know your customer’s fears, desires, needs, and wants. In the process expect to get it wrong but learn and try again. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 
  3. Think long term but plan short term. 2020 taught us, one can have a futuristic vision, but make sure you always have a plan B revised. Ask yourself is there a void? and how can one fill it?

Learn more about the Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and connect with Susana Marino on LinkedIn.


NJEDA Board approves creation of New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund to cultivate entrepreneurship

The New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund will drive investment and cultivate entrepreneurship in the state. 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board  approved the creation of the New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund (NJIEF), a groundbreaking new tool to increase access to strategic resources and venture capital in New Jersey. The NJIEF will create partnerships between the state and the private sector to collaboratively align New Jersey’s well-resourced corporations, and national investors to support entrepreneurs and grow the innovation economy in the state.

Under the NJIEF, the State will become an equity investor in startups deploying up to $600 million into companies alongside professional venture capital groups. This strategic investment will not only support New Jersey’s entrepreneurs, but will also ensure that more companies start, grow, and stay in state. Established by the New Jersey Economic Recovery Act of 2020, the NJIEF is an innovative tool designed to incentivize investment in emerging New Jersey companies while creating mentoring, networking, and educational opportunities to help position these companies for success.

The New Jersey Innovation Evergreen Fund is a groundbreaking public-private partnership that will fuel our innovation economy by attracting entrepreneurs and venture capital to the state,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “The NJIEF draws on the strengths of New Jersey’s world-class corporate leaders to create a steady stream of investment and expertise that will nurture the next generation of innovators. By fostering investments in entrepreneurship and start-up companies, we are driving job creation and economic growth for New Jersey.”

The concept for the NJIEF was first announced in October 2018 as part of Governor Murphy’s economic development strategic plan The State of Innovation: Building a Stronger and Fairer Economy in New Jersey.

“New Jersey has long served as fertile ground for inventions that changed our world – from Thomas Edison and the creation of the lightbulb to Beatrice Hicks and the development of a switch that helped land the Apollo spaceship on the moon,” said New Jersey State Senator Andrew Zwicker. “Our state has a long history of investing in entrepreneurs, and the NJIEF is a key component of reclaiming New Jersey’s leadership role in innovation by creating a vibrant culture of investment that is dedicated to growing the companies of the future.”

“When entrepreneurs think of leaders in innovation, New Jersey should be at the top of their list,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The NJIEF will not only serve as a novel approach to investing in entrepreneurs, but also a key contributor for job creation and sustainable economic growth. Today’s announcement serves as a testament to Governor Murphy’s leadership in growing NJ’s innovation economy by investing in New Jersey companies and startups.”

“The NJIEF is a game-changing program that will catalyze venture capital investments into New Jersey startups,” said Kathleen Coviello, NJEDA’s Chief Economic Transformation Officer. “The state’s role as an equity investor will encourage established corporations to commit capital and knowledge-sharing resources, creating a dynamic cycle of innovation.”

The seed capital to launch the NJIEF will be raised by auctioning up to $300 million in transferrable tax credits — with an annual cap of $60 million during each of the first five years after program launch — to corporations registered to do business in New Jersey. Corporations seeking to purchase the tax credits must commit to supporting the state’s innovation economy through activities such as mentorship, internships, sales and distribution pipeline access, and availability to serve on the NJIEF Advisory Board for one year.

Auction bids will be evaluated according to price and the specific strategic commitments the bidding company makes to support NJIEF’s portfolio companies and the state’s broader innovation ecosystem, including networking and mentorship opportunities. Once the funding is raised, the NJEDA will partner with professional venture capital firms operating anywhere in the country to co-invest the funds in eligible high growth businesses in New Jersey.

Full details on the NJIEF are available at The NJEDA expects to launch the NJIEF later this year.

About the NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, visit and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

funding genderization

Funding “genderization” makes Latinas, minority women-owned businesses, big losers in 2021 revenue and funding

The message is loud and clear for Latinas and other minority women-owned businesses. Despite the continuous big announcements from traditional to alternative funders that diversification of funding and access to capital for minority female founders is on the way, we have not moved an inch, not a centimeter! 

We are not getting it, and I’m tired of funding “genderization.”

Many can blame the pandemic or that women had to become caregivers of parents and children, and still try to save their businesses. They can argue they had to leave or close their businesses because of the lockdown and criticize government pandemic measures. They can also find excuses for operating raising costs or the supply chain disruptions but haven’t these been the same conditions for all small businesses operating during a challenging year? 

According to a Biz2Credit study that reviewed 100,000 credit inquiries, “women-owned business profits averaged $88,995, much less than 2020’s figure of $119,654, and $47,152 less than the average for male-owned firms ($136,147) in 2021.”

The study also found that “profits for female business-owners dropped 26% in 2021 from 2020, while average annual revenues dipped 4%.”

  • Average Annual Revenue dropped from $493,401 in 2020 to $475,707 in 2021.
  • Average Profits (annual revenue – operating expenses) of women-owned businesses fell to $88,995 in 2021 from $119,654 in 2020
  • Average Expenses increased from $373,748 in 2020 to $386,712 in 2021.
  • Average Credit Score for female business owners dropped from 588 in 2020 to 580 in 2021.
  • Top Industry: Services (except public administration) represented 31.9% of the women-owned companies in 2021.

Latinas and other minority women-owned businesses stall big time

Since the frenzy reported by American Express, The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report,, between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses climbed 21% to nearly 13 million (12,943,400). Employment grew by 8% to 9.4 million. Revenue rose 21% to $1.9 trillion. 

women owned business

2014 – 2019 Growth Rates for Women-Owned Businesses VS. All Firms. (Source: The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report)

While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019:

  • Firms owned by women of color doubled that rate (43%). 
  • Numbers for African American/Black women grew even faster at 50%. 
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (41%), 
  • Latina/Hispanic (40%), 
  • Asian American (37%) and 
  • Native American/Alaska Native (26%) businesses grew more slowly than for women of color in general but faster than overall women-owned businesses and all businesses. 
women owned business

Trends in the Growth Rate of the Number of Women-Owned Businesses VS. All Firms (Source: The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report)

As of 2019, women of color accounted for 50% of all women-owned businesses. Today, they are up to 54% (estimated). 

However, the disparity between minority and non-minority women is increasing. 

  • In 2014, minority-owned businesses averaged $67,800 in revenue; 
  • By 2019, the average had dropped to $65,800. 
  • In 2014, non-minority women-owned businesses averaged $198,500 in revenue; 
  • By 2019, the average had jumped to $218,800. 

From 2014 to 2019, the average revenue for women-of-color-owned businesses shrank, except for Asian women-owned businesses. As the number of minority-women-owned businesses surges, the entry of smaller, younger companies into the pool could be lowering average revenue figures for these businesses. 

women owned business

Closing the Revenue Gap for Minority-Women-Owned Businesses would have a huge impact on the economy. (Source: The 2019 State of Women-Owned Business Report)

We need funding, and we need it NOW!

The culprit of these gaps is the missed opportunity for female founders -especially Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs- to secure funding.

According to a report by research firm PitchBook, “female founders secured only 2% of venture capital in the U.S. in 2021, the smallest share since 2016 and a sign that efforts to diversify the famously male-dominated industry are struggling.”

The report stated that “U.S. startups founded solely by women raised nearly $6.4 billion of venture funding in 2021, 83% higher than the total raised in 2020. The accelerated pace of funding is part of an exceptionally strong year for V.C. investment across the U.S., which eclipsed its previous record and topped nearly $330 billion in 2021.”

Although it was the second year in a row that women’s percentage of V.C. funding decreased, the overall dollar value of female funding rose because total funding levels in 2021 hit all-time highs, according to the report. 

economic equality,

funding “genderization” prevents women, especially Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, from expanding their businesses.  (Photo created by freepik)

It’s funding “genderization,” and this information proves it! 

“When women teamed up with a male co-founder, they tended to raise more,” says the report. Aggh… it makes me so mad! The mixed-gender female-male founder teams secured 15.6% of total venture cash in 2021, the highest amount since 2017! 

The truth is, these numbers have been almost steady for female founders, especially Latina entrepreneurs and other minority women-owned businesses, for quite some time. “Black female startup founders have received just 0.34 percent of the total venture capital spent in the U.S. in 2021; however, the dollars invested in their companies are on the rise,” an analysis of Crunchbase data shows.

“The dollar amount received in angel, pre-seed, and seed rounds for venture-backed Latinx-owned startups in the U.S. had barely budged since 2018 when $185 million went to Latinx-owned companies raising those earliest rounds,” Crunchbase data shows

In 2021, Latinx startups raising angel, pre-seed, and seed rounds only received $205 million, a mere $20 million increase from three years earlier. Almost all of the growth in funding that Latinx founders have seen in recent years went primarily to later-stage startups.

Female founders secured only 2% of venture capital in the U.S. in 2021, the smallest share since 2016, a sign that efforts to diversify funding in this male-dominated industry are failing. The statistic may sound familiar; it’s the exact same portion of capital startups founded by a solo female founder or an all-female team secured last year, too, according to PitchBook.

According to a DocSend data report , potential investors spent 50 percent more time scrutinizing the slide that details milestones and growth metrics of the company of all-female teams’ pitch decks than they do of all-male teams’ pitch decks. 

In a male-dominated industry, V.C. firms with female decision-makers represent less than 10% of all firms, and 74% of U.S. V.C. firms have zero female investors. 

But do we need women sitting on those seats to give to women? Isn’t it enough for women to be talented and solid in their business proposition to receive the funding they need? 

What does a male founder’s presence guarantee that a female founder doesn’t in the views of funders? 

At the end of the day, venture capital is still a relationship-driven industry. What are “people with money” networks not offering to women that they are contributing to men? Why are they not opening doors for them?

Funding “genderization” prevents women, especially Latinas and other minority women entrepreneurs, from expanding their businesses. But it is also hurting an economy that could grow exponentially, and it has been proven ten times over. 

Women need to understand that funding “genderization” in business is a serious discrimination and civil rights issue – a matter of “Sex and Gender Discrimination Law” as much as it is in the workplace. Until we do, we will keep making coffee and updating calendar schedules. 

You might be interested: Gender washing: seven kinds of marketing hypocrisy about empowering women

Women are more competitive when they’re given an option to share winnings – a research finding that may help close the gender pay gap

Mary L. Rigdon, professor and Associate Director at the University of Arizona shares research about women’s competitiveness that may help close the gender pay gap. The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Women are more likely to take risks and engage in competitive activities if they’re allowed to share their potential winnings with peers, according to new research I co-authored. Since one explanation of the gender pay gap is that women tend to be less competitive than men in workplace settings, this finding could lead to ways to narrow it.

In a study published on Nov. 1, 2021, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Alessandra Cassar and I report an experiment in which we invited 238 undergraduate students – split almost evenly between men and women – into our labs to solve a simple numbers puzzle. We wanted to see how different types of financial incentives prompt men and women to compete differently. We randomly assigned them to groups of four and had them do versions of the puzzle over three rounds.

Researchers have conducted this experiment many times, with the result that women show less interest in competing than men. But we added a twist.

Half the students followed the usual methodology. They were first told they’d receive US$2 for every numbers problem solved. In the second round, we offered $4 per solution to the top two performers in each foursome, leaving the others with nothing. In the final round, participants were able to choose whether to receive $2 for every problem solved or engage in the more competitive game and potentially earn more money.

Mirroring the results of past studies, our research found that while 52% of the men chose the competitive option in the third round, only 34% of women did.

Our twist on this experiment, which we conducted with the other half, was very similar to how the standard version was conducted except in one way. In the second round, students who won were told they could choose to share some portion of their winnings with one of the two low performers in their group. We then looked at how this option to share affected their choices in round three.

We found that this eliminated the male-female competitiveness gap. Men chose to compete at about the same rate as before, but 60% of women opted for the riskier option when offered a chance to share their winnings.

women in the workplace

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels

Why it matters

The latest wage data shows women earn 83 cents of every dollar a man is paid, a stat that has barely budged in decades. And while controlling for job type and individual characteristics closes much of the gap, we think this adjustment misses the point.

The persistent gap in average earnings suggests women consistently go into careers that pay lower salaries than those that men go into or are systemically underpromoted. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this imbalance.

To more meaningfully close or at least narrow the gap between how much men and women earn, it’s important to understand its causes. Some economists have suggested it’s at least partly due to different levels of competitiveness among men and women.

After all, high-risk competitive roles like managers and lawyers tend to come with lofty salaries. Since many of the studies cited above show women seem to be less competitive than men, this could help explain why women are underrepresented in those careers and on average earn less.

Our research suggests the explanation may be more nuanced. It’s not that women don’t like competition, but that they are sensitive to social aspects of it that men aren’t. When incentives reflect those social aspects, women are just as competitive as men.

What’s next

We’re not sure how our findings translate into the workplace or how companies can adjust the way they pay workers to encourage women to be more competitive. We are uncovering more of the what, and need to better understand the why.

You might be interested: The immortal – and false – myth of the workplace Queen Bee

[Over 110,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

6 Latina financial experts you should be following on social media

Financial literacy is a crucial life skill that every person should have but is often overlooked. Many are not taught financial skills and Latinos traditionally are reluctant to discuss money matters.

Many of the Latina financial experts featured below all share similar origin stories of struggling with financial literacy and seeing their families struggle with money growing up. These Latinas turned their narratives around by becoming money savvy and breaking out of the limiting beliefs about Latinos and money that held them back before. 

Becoming financially aware and making conscious choices when it comes to spending and saving can make a huge difference for you and your family. This can mean saving enough for college funds, paying off student loans and credit card debt, and even retiring early!

These six Latina financial experts have the tips to help you succeed and become a money savvy woman too. Check out their stories and follow them on social media to reap the benefits of their knowledge and see those savings grow! 

6 Latina financial experts you should follow to improve your money smarts! 

Jully-Alma Taveras, creator of Investing Latinas. (Photo via Instagram)

Jully-Alma Taveras

Jully-Alma Taveras is the woman behind Investing Latina, a platform that encourages and supports other Latinas to grow their wealth and improve their financial smarts. The Plutus Award-winning bilingual personal finance expert shares money stories on her YouTube channel from the lens of a Dominican Republic-born immigrant living in New York that went from being a shopaholic to a smart spender and diligent investor. Her money philosophies have inspired thousands of women to live minimally and spend intentionally, so that they can invest more.

She has taught over 7,000 people how to invest through her investing workshops and shares money tips to her 42k+ followers on Instagram to help Latinas become more finance savvy.

Follow Jully-Alma on Instagram to learn more about investing strategies!

Jannese Torres-Rodriguez, creator of “Yo Quiero Dinero” podcast. (Photo source)

Jannese Torres-Rodriguez

Jannese Torres-Rodriguez, is a Latina thought leader, speaker, and content creator in the personal finance space. She became an accidental entrepreneur after a job loss led her to create a successful Latin food blog, Delish D’Lites

She also runs the podcast Yo Quiero Dinero”, is a nationally acclaimed, award winning personal finance podcast that is listened to in over 130 countries. On her podcast and various platforms, Jannese helps to educate marginalized communities on topics such as financial literacy, investing, entrepreneurship, and building generational wealth. 

Through her own experiences, Jannese knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed by debt and disillusioned with traditional employment. This is why she has made it her mission to help others find financial freedom like she did. 

“My side hustles helped me pay off over $39,000 of student loans in 17 months, build generational wealth, walk away from traditional 9-5 employment decades early. I quit my job in 2021 after turning my side hustles into my main hustle!” she says. 

Today, she helps her clients and listeners build successful online businesses that allow them to pursue financial independence and freedom.

Follow Jannese on social media and check out her podcast as well to learn more financial tips and tricks! 

Katia Chesnok, creator of Economikat. (photo source)

Katia Chesnok

Katia is a nationally recognized money and business expert, financial educator, entrepreneur, founder, and content creator of Economikat. She created her educational platform to provide Latinas and women of color with the necessary tools to start building wealth and succeeded in their businesses and finances.

Katia created her brand after working in corporate finance and noticing the low percentage of women, especially Latinas and WOC, within the field. At the time, Katia was living paycheck to paycheck and consumed by debt. She recalls how she worked in corporate finance but had never learned personal finance in school. She had no idea how important it was to start investing early, have an emergency fund, and more. After going on her own personal finance journey and learning everything she could to turn her finances around, now she shares her knowledge with other Latinas and WOC. 

“We all deserve to be wealthy. Women deserve to be wealthy. Women of color deserve to be wealthy. As a Latina and WOC myself, I also think that the Latinx, Black, and communities of color need access to financial literacy and entrepreneurship tools in order to build wealth for them and for the generations to come. My mission is that you learn something valuable, that guides you on your unique wealth-building journey.”

Follow Katia on Instagram and embark on your own wealth-building journey. 


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Yanely Espinal, creator of MissBeHelpful. (Photo source)

Yanely Espinal

Yanely was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is one of the first in her family to graduate college. Still, despite two decades of school, she never had a class about making smart money decisions. Now, she’s on a mission to help young people learn about personal finance in a fun and engaging way through her platform MissBeHelpful

On her YouTube channel and social media she harnesses her teaching degree to teach followers about budgeting strategies, managing credit, saving and investing for retirement and more. 

From her own experiences, Yanely understands the challenges of first-generation immigrants and their children. For many Latinos and Hispanics, money matters are sensitive topics that are rarely discussed. Now, Yanely wants to help immigrants and their children build wealth and break the cultural beliefs and fears about money. 

Follow Yanely on social media to become part of the MissBeHelpful community and learn how to better manage your own finances. 


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Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino, creator of Wealth Para Todos. (Photo source)

Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino

Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino is a former math teacher turned personal finance educator. In March of 2019, she started to develop her financial literacy by reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos while on sick leave from work. 

Soon after she created a small start-up called the “Puro Party Paulinos” aka her family of four. Within 19 months in her new role, Soledad used zero-based budgeting to pay off about $23k in student loan debt, saved a 6-month emergency fund, maxed out IRAs for her husband and herself, maxed out her husband’s 401k account, and created an early retirement plan.

Now shares her money saving tips, financial strategies, and more on her platform Wealth Para Todos, where she helps educate marginalized groups improve their financial literacy. She also offers one-on-one coaching and helps build financial plans so that anyone can become “work optional.” 

“Wealth Para Todos is here to remove barriers to financial security for BIPOC, womxn, and  LGBTQ+ folk through financial education,” she says. 

Follow Soledad on social media to start breaking those barriers!  

Delyanne Barros, creator of Delyanne the Money Coach. (Photo source)

Delyanne Barros

Delyanne Barros is a former attorney and first-generation immigrant. Before becoming a money coach and law editor, she represented undocumented immigrants, workers and women experiencing sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, she was living paycheck to paycheck, because like many millennials, she had a large amount of student loan debt. Through her struggles, she noticed that many people did not talk about financial hardships, especially living in expensive New York City. 

“Growing up poor and as a Brazilian-born immigrant, I believed that money was something extremely difficult to earn, manage, and grow. Thankfully, I got over that and started educating myself about financial independence and how I could become free from all the trappings of corporate life,” she says.

Now, she focuses on helping people learn how to invest their money wisely and build wealth. 

“Today, I’m debt-free and on track to retire by the time I’m 45. I quit my 14-year career as an employment attorney to run Delyanne the Money Coach LLC, a multi-six figure business.”

On her Instagram @delyannethemoneycoach she teaches “investors how to Slay the Stock Market™” and shares money tips and strategies. She is also the host of the CNN podcast, “Diversifying.”

Follow Delyanne on social media to learn how you too can “Slay the Stock Market™” and build better money habits. 

Do you have a money saving plan? Are you ready to improve your financial literacy and become financially secure? Share your journey with us, and don’t forget to follow these Latina financial experts for more money savvy tips!

Excluded NJ Fund, NJ Department of Human Services

Excluded NJ Fund removes COVID impact as eligibility requirement, expanding accessibility 

The Department of Human Services has removed COVID impact as an eligibility requirement for the Excluded NJ Fund and extends the application period to the end of February.

Last month, Latinas in Business President and CEO, Susana G Baumann spoke to Elisa Neira, Deputy Commissioner at the New Jersey Department of Human Services, about the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund. 

The ENJF program provides a one-time, direct cash benefit to eligible low-income households that were excluded from federal stimulus checks and pandemic-related unemployment assistance. This includes undocumented individuals, residents returning from the justice system and any other individuals otherwise excluded from pandemic-related financial help.

Since our conversation with Elisa, the potential payouts for the Excluded New Jerseyans cash-assistance program have reached the $40 million mark and the program will continue accepting applications through the previously announced February 28, 2022 application deadline. 

Sarah Adelman, Acting Commissioner (Photo source:

Acting Commissioner Adelman announced that Governor Phil Murphy will allocate American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to provide assistance to eligible applicants who apply by the end of the month.

The Governor allocated additional ARP funds last month to restore the program to $40 million so more eligible people could apply. The Department also removed COVID impact as an eligibility requirement following revised federal allowances, and extended the application period to the end of February.

“This fund provides a much needed financial boost to families who were previously excluded from federal assistance,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “By committing this additional funding, we are making sure eligible families can continue to apply through the end of the month, and that those whose applications are approved will receive their benefits.”

“We are grateful for the Governor’s continued support of this program which has already helped thousands of New Jerseyans who were left out of federal pandemic assistance,” said Acting Commissioner Adelman. “Interested individuals should check their eligibility and apply at For those who need help, free application assistance is available.”

The ENJF application period ends on February 28.  Applicants who submit an application but do not include required documents by the deadline will be able to provide additional documents to demonstrate eligibility after the deadline. The application is available in English and Spanish and online resources in multiple languages can be found on the website.

“The program is now accessible to even more New Jerseyans who were left out of other relief. We want to make sure the community is aware that there is still time to apply for the program.  And if you have already applied, we encourage you to check the status of your application online and follow the next steps to complete your application such as uploading eligibility documents,” said Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira

Watch the webcast: NJ Office of New Americans talks about the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund

The  one-time, direct cash benefit amounts are $2,000 per eligible individual and a maximum of $4,000 per household. Individuals with annual household incomes at or below $55,000, who live in New Jersey, are over 18 years of age and were excluded from federal COVID stimulus payments and pandemic unemployment assistance can apply to the ENJF without demonstrating COVID-related impacts. Proof of COVID impact is no longer required.

Image Source: NJ Office of New Americans.

Various Latinx organizations are applauding these changes that now make the fund accessible to more people, especially immigrant populations who have struggled to receive aid during the pandemic. 

“The Latino Action Network thanks Governor Murphy for simplifying the application for the Excluded New Jerseyans fund and ensuring that more people could take part in this critical program,” said Christian Estevez, President of the Latino Action Network. “By reaching $40 million, we have taken a big first step in addressing a long-standing, previously unmet need in the community. I look forward to the Department of Human Services and Murphy Administration keeping this program open through the end of the month so we can continue helping families and individuals in need. The Latino Action Network stands ready to work with the Governor and the legislature to find ways to continue helping those in need through the end of this month and beyond.”

“LUPE FUND commends Governor Murphy and his administration on allotting additional funds to the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund,” said Iveth Mosquera, LUPE Fund President. “This is an acknowledgment and step forward for all essential workers who have risked their lives during the pandemic, and continue to be the backbone of our communities. This is a true representation of working towards a stronger and fairer New Jersey.” 

“The work of DHS simplifying the application process is commendable and shows the great need for continued relief for immigrant workers. Still, we know that hundreds of thousands of New Jersey families will still need additional aid. We are committed to work alongside the Governor and the legislature to ensure no one in New Jersey is left behind. We cannot fully recover as a state until everyone has recovered,” said a statement from Latina Civic Action. 

For more information on the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund and to apply, visit: