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SBA Administrator announces plans to elevate the Office of Women’s Business Ownership

Earlier last week,  U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced that the SBA intends to elevate its Office of Women’s Business Ownership (OWBO) to directly report to the Office of the Administrator. The proposed change reflects the importance of women entrepreneurs held by the Biden-Harris Administration and SBA.

Established by Executive Order in 1979 and codified through the Women’s Small Business Act of 1988, OWBO’s mission has been to empower women entrepreneurs through advocacy, outreach, education, and support.

Under Administrator Guzman, the SBA has expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to a record 140 locations nationwide. These WBCs offer a network of extensive on-the-ground resources that include free to low-cost counseling, training, business development technical assistance and are dedicated to assisting women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and expand their enterprises.

SBA, Isabella Casillas Guzman

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. (Photo Source)

“In 1972, there were a little over 400,000 women-owned businesses in the United States. Today, there are over 12 million proving that women entrepreneurs have become the fastest growing and one of the most impactful segments of the business community,” said Administrator Guzman in a press release. “While there has been historic progress in women’s entrepreneurship, significant disparities still persist, impacting women entrepreneurs’ access to resources and opportunity, especially in the face of the economic challenges posed by COVID. That is why I am proud to advance the mission of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and reaffirm our commitment to America’s women-owned small businesses.”

This announcement comes after the release of the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality commissioned by the White House outlining objectives and priorities for obtaining equity for women. 

“Women entrepreneurs are key to spurring innovation and supporting local economies and families across the country. That is why it’s so important that we continue to invest in women-owned businesses and give them the tools they need to succeed and grow. The elevation of this office sends a clear signal of this Administration’s commitment to ensure an equitable economic recovery, putting women at the forefront of our efforts to build back better for everyone. The White House Gender Policy Council looks forward to an ongoing strong partnership with the Office of Women’s Business Ownership in the months and years ahead,” said Jennifer Klein, Deputy Assistant to the President and Co-Chair and Executive Director of the WH Gender Policy Council.

Women represent the fastest-growing entrepreneurial segment in the country, with particularly high growth in entrepreneurship amongst multicultural women. Data from the SBA’s Office of Advocacy found that between 2014 and 2016, the number of employer firms owned by women grew six percent, twice the growth rate of employer firms owned by men. This exponential growth was mainly driven by an increase in employer businesses owned by minority women, which grew 14 percent in that time.

Photo created by tirachardz on Freepik.

COVID-19 dealt a severe blow to women-owned businesses which is why prioritizing recovery and addressing long standing inequities for women entrepreneurs is crucial to the survival and continued growth of these businesses. The elevation of the Office of Women’s Business Ownership will help ensure the continued success of the Women’s Business Center network. 

While it is evident that women entrepreneurs play a key role in our society and economy, they still remain underrepresented in many key factors, including access to capital, contracts, and connections. Led by OWBO, the SBA assists women-owned businesses in leveraging government resources – including recently announced opportunities through an equitable federal procurement strategy, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Build Back Better Act – to level the playing field. 

Currently, the OWBO is an organizational component of the Office of Entrepreneurial Development. The SBA emphasizes that the reorganization is still in the planning stages and likely will not be finalized until the close of fiscal year 2022.

To find Women’s Business Center locations and additional SBA resources in your area, visit www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance.

crowdfunding

How women-led companies can raise more money through crowdfunding

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.

woman entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs thrive managing talented teams and balancing many investors

Richard A. Devine, of DePaul University and Siri Terjesen, Dean’s Distinguished Professor in Entrepreneurship at Florida Atlantic University share data that shows how women entrepreneurs thrive in business and leadership. 

Only a handful of the top companies in the U.S. are led by a woman.

Efforts to change that and promote more women into positions of leadership have relied primarily on questions of equality. But is there also a business case for putting more women in charge?

Previous research on differences in leadership styles between men and women has suggested the latter make decisions using more collaborative and relational methods, which enables them to better manage a range of groups and resources. But it wasn’t able to show whether this actually led to better results.

Thanks to a study we co-authored in 2019, we have data that shows women-led businesses, in certain scenarios, do indeed perform better than those run by men.

The case for female leadership

Our research, conducted with colleagues Gonzalo Molina-Sieiro and Michael Holmes, focused on entrepreneurs trying to grow their nascent companies quickly.

We began with the results of the Kauffman Firm Survey, which tracked 4,928 companies founded in 2004 by conducting annual surveys through 2011. The database includes lots of information critical to understanding what factors influence performance, including revenue, employees and intellectual property. For our purposes, it also includes many details about the main entrepreneur and top managers behind the venture, including education, experience and gender.

Most entrepreneurs run small operations with few employees and little desire to grow much. A small share, however, lead what we call “high-growth ventures,” which are often defined as companies that experience annualized employment growth of 20% or more during a three-year period.

These companies are a significant engine of economic activity, producing millions of jobs a year in the United States alone and are responsible for a majority of new jobs created in the U.S. over the last several decades.

For our purposes, we defined a high-growth venture as among the top 10% of all entrepreneurial businesses in our sample in terms of employee growth in any given year. While the majority of these were led by a male entrepreneur, about a quarter were run by a woman.

women entrepreneurs, team-work,

Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

Collaborative management styles

In our research, we started by comparing how female-led companies performed in terms of employee growth versus those helmed by men.

In preliminary analyses we found that, overall, a female-led business was less likely to experience high growth. However, we knew that there was more to the story since other research has indicated the strengths they bring to organizations.

Given what we know about female leaders’ collaborative and relational know-how, we developed a theory that they should be particularly skilled at leveraging the talents of senior executives and managers. For example, many female leaders argue building relationships with employees helps create win-win scenarios where employees feel valued, which also helps them avoid the double bind of appearing too authoritative.

So we examined two markers of human capital and management talent: the number of top managers with a college degree or higher and how many had previous entrepreneurial experience.

The results were clear: Female-led companies with more educated managers were more likely to attain high employment growth than male peers with a management team with similar levels of experience.

Levels of entrepreneurial experience, on the other hand, didn’t make a difference for high growth.

Investors and capital

We also looked at two other variables: the number of ownership stakes and financial capital.

An important way companies grow is by raising funds. To do so, they often trade equity in the business for financial support. But giving investors a say on internal decisions like management and strategy can lead to conflict and division. It can also upset the balance of power among top managers.

An interesting finding from our research, however, is that female-led companies were more likely to hire rapidly and grow when there were more top managers or investors who held ownership stakes in the company. Research has shown that female leaders often excel at managing conflict, which helps explain our results.

As for capital, much has been written about the struggle women entrepreneurs face obtaining financing for their startups. But when they finally do secure financial capital, how do they fare?

To find out, we looked only at companies in our database that had received financial support from a venture capital firm. Again, we found that companies led by a woman experienced stronger hiring growth than those that had a man in charge.

Other research has found that female entrepreneurs do more with less and are able to generate more revenue per funds invested than their male counterparts.

Utilizing women’s skills and experience

The point of our study is not to show that female-led companies – high growth or not – perform better than men.

Rather, our research suggests that women do bring valuable and unique skills and experience to the table that can make a significant difference to business success. Yet, given so few companies are run by women, their skills and experiences are not fully utilized.

There are many well-known ways to help fix this, of course, such as implementing better family leave policies that are friendly to women staying in their careers, setting up development programs aimed at encouraging female entrepreneurs and finding ways to improve their access to financial capital – to name just a few.

Giving more opportunities to women entrepreneurs isn’t just good for them. It can be good for the entire economy.The Conversation

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


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

Top 5 Secrets to become a successful entrepreneur

These five secrets are not new; however, they are a good reminder of what it takes to move forward on your entrepreneurship journey. Some may practice these actions on and off, while others will turn them into habits. It’s those that ingrain these actions into their life that more often than not become successful entrepreneurs.

Top 5 Secrets to becoming a successful entrepreneur (Photo created by cookie_studio on freepik)

Every entrepreneur hopes that their venture will be successful. Many times, entrepreneurs are taking a big risk, leaving behind corporate jobs or traditional careers all for a dream. At Latinas in Business, we are always sharing the stories of our fellow entrepreneurs and leaders in our community, and time and time again we see overlap and similarities in their successful journeys.

While some believe the toughest part of launching a new business is arriving at a great idea, more often than not the toughest part is actually acting on your dreams. So many of us are guilty of this: we dream up a great idea only to put it on a shelf “for later” and forget about it. Then, “later” we discover someone else has developed our idea, acting on it where we didn’t, and they are now successful for it.

Action is what makes a successful entrepreneur. Constant and consistent movement is what sets successful ventures apart from the others.

“It’s critical once you believe in an idea that you make the step to some form of action right away in order to start building momentum towards your goals,” Jon Gillespie-Brown wrote in So You Want to Be an Entrepreneur. Many new entrepreneurs “talk a good game but do not follow through.”

The importance of action is not just pertinent to a business launch. Owners of established businesses may also be stopped in their tracks in the face of challenges posed by regulations, advances in technology or the overall economy. A successful entrepreneur is someone who, regardless of the challenge, keeps moving though not always forward.

A successful entrepreneur know that success is not always a linear upward progression and understand that obstacles arise. Those who are ultimately successful do not become paralyzed by challenges but instead find a way around them. They don’t sit still. They keep moving. They adapt.

Entrepreneurs who are unable or unwilling to continue to move forward or backward or seek an alternative route are destined to doom. Without movement of some sort the entrepreneur’s venture gets stuck and eventually fails. If you’re determined to make your venture a success that stands apart from the rest, then take these actions and ingrain them into your business building process.

Top 5 actions that make a successful entrepreneur

  1. Set goals.

Set goals to put your plans into focus. (Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels)

Entrepreneurs who know what they want and have set a course are more likely to accomplish their objectives. Goals act as the homing device for an entrepreneurs’ actions. At times they may need to take a step back or sideways to continue to move forward. Like the North Star guiding navigators, goals help entrepreneurs create a new course after making adjustments.

  1. Don’t fear failure.

Often people are taught that failing is bad. Yet without failure few entrepreneurs would know the way to success. Failure can be a powerful teacher. It shows you what needs changing, where you need to adapt and improve. Entrepreneurs seldom get it right the first time. But having the ability to keep moving by making adjustments improves the odds of success.

  1. Take risks.

Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec once wrote, “Accept that there is a chance you will fail to make the leap across a chasm, or the rock you are about to step on may crumble, but understand that the rewards outweigh the risks.”

Indeed there is truth to the saying “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Taking risks is the first step to making something happen. If you stay stagnant and still, nothing will change. Remember, success is achieved through action. 

  1. Don’t settle.

Some entrepreneurs may strike gold the first time out. Others require more time, energy and perhaps the alignment of some planets.

Don’t become discouraged. Keep moving. Evaluate your business plan and make necessary adjustments based on feedback and results. Sometimes moving past a large obstacle means going around it and not necessarily over it. If you want your venture to really be a success, don’t let yourself get stuck or settle for something that is only half of what you dreamed.

Seek a mentor to help you navigate the world of entrepreneurship. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)

  1. Seek a mentor.

The entrepreneurs who freeze and do nothing when they come to their “moment of truth” may do so because they don’t know what to do next. The best way to achieve success is to work with someone who has already been down the same road. Plenty can go wrong in business but the right mentor can help an entrepreneur navigate the pitfalls and keep moving forward, improving the odds for success. Joining a community of like-minded individuals and entrepreneurs is a great way of connecting with people who have been there before, and can guide you through your journey.


This article was originally published in 2015. It has been updated for relevancy. 

Jessie Gabriel, 2021 WEES, All Places

2021 WEES Speaker Jessie Gabriel: How she became the go-to legal firm for women

Jessie Gabriel is the CEO and Founder of All Places, a business and legal strategy firm built by women, for women. Jessie founded All Places after feeling unhappy and underappreciated at her previous firm. Jessie’s story is an inspiration to all women who have big dreams and are ready to take charge of their careers that anything is possible when you put your plans into action.

THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success

The 2021 Women Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit motto is THRIVE! with our panels and workshops focusing on key areas of growth to connect and empower women business owners and give them the tools and insights to propel forward and thrive post-COVID19. 

Our women’s panel,THRIVE! Women Turning Adversity into Success”, will feature guest speakers: Jessie Gabriel, Maria Piastre, and Marvina Robinson as they share insights learned on their journey to success while fighting the odds of being a woman and reinventing themselves during the pandemic. Below, Jessie shares her story with Latinas in Business of how she found success in the male-dominated business and legal industry and became the go-to firm for women. 

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made”

Jessie Gabriel is the founder of All Places and a champion for women, advocating for gender equality in capital ownership and control. Raised by a single working mother in Southern California, Jessie’s success came with a deep appreciation of how gender norms and unequal access to capital contribute to a systemic lack of opportunities for women-identifying entrepreneurs and executives.

Jessie began her career in economics after receiving her B.A. in economics from Dartmouth College. She then earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif, won the Campbell Moot Court Competition, and served as Executive Editor of the Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Jessie Gabriel, All Places

Jessie Gabriel, CEO and Founder of All Places. (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

Throughout her career as a lawyer, Jessie worked at some of the country’s most prestigious firms and served clients from Fortune 10 companies to trailblazing pre-seed startups. However, like many women in male-dominated industries such as law, finance, and science, Jessie found that the further she rose within her organization the more marginalized she felt. 

“Even though I was an equity partner and ran my own practice team, I did not have any control over firm culture, who I worked with, or even my own compensation. And I did not agree with many of the decisions being made by the people who did have control over those things,” says Jessie. “But it was not until a number of my female clients and other women in the asset management community suggested I start my own firm that I seriously considered it. It was at a dinner in July of 2019 that the suggestion was made and I launched All Places in October of 2020.”

Jessie founded All Places with the dream of becoming the go-to firm for women. It was built specifically with women in mind, with its name coming from a famous quote by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” 

All Places, go-to legal firm for women

Jessie founded All Places as a business and legal firm by women, for women. (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

“Our mission is to support women founders (and women asset managers in particular) along their entrepreneurial journey, doing our part to help them achieve remarkable growth and market power,” says Jessie. “The most direct line to those positions is building and controlling wealth, and the most direct line to wealth creation is ownership.” 

Developing her vision 

Jessie vision for All Places began building slowly over time, before she ever really thought it would become a reality. 

“For a period of time at my last firm, I led the Women’s Committee. I remember sitting at an event that we were hosting and one of the panelists was asked what you should do if you are unhappy with your firm’s culture but have been unable to change it. She responded that, in that case, you should leave. At the time, it seemed like a drastic and impractical option,” says Jessie. “I had never considered myself an entrepreneur, and having been raised by a single mother where money was always an issue, financial security held a lot of sway over me.” 

However, as she advanced in her career she found herself continually reminded of how little her organization valued her. Her suggestions were quickly rejected. Her salary demands were dismissed. And she was met with more lip service in place of money and power. 

So, she began to plan. 

“I planned, planned, planned. I worked for years to develop key client relationships and save money, and then spent time really developing my vision for a new style of law firm where women would be the focus.”

Jessie’s ultimate dream was to eventually become the go-to firm for women, something that seemed impossible at the time. 

“Six months after launching All Places, a woman in our community was making an introduction for me. As she was describing me in the email, she wrote, ‘There is rarely a call I have with another female fund manager where Jessie’s name doesn’t come up.’ Even now as I write that, I am floored. What seemed impossible was possible–I was now at a firm that was that go-to firm . . . I just had to create it!   

“Being a woman has certainly shaped my path” 

Jessie’s experiences as a woman in a male-dominated field were a crucial component and motivating factor in the creation of All Places. 

Jessie Gabriel, All Places

“Many of our clients come to All Places because they connect with our message.” (Photo courtesy Jessie Gabriel)

“Being a woman has certainly shaped my path,” she says. “Many of our clients come to All Places because they connect with our message. They have often had bad experiences with traditional law firms, and have had bad experiences within their own career paths. We can commiserate on the lack of belonging we have experienced professionally, and in our intense desire to see ourselves and other women achieve breathtaking success. It is that shared experience and empathy that drives deeply effective partnerships.” 

This is a feeling that binds women entrepreneurs together and many women can probably relate to Jessie’s experiences, especially if you too are in a male-dominated industry. For women who find themselves wishing to start their own venture or make a change in their careers, Jessie says, “Start talking about. You know so many people who will want to help you, but they can’t do it unless you tell them what you want to do and what help you need to succeed. It’s terrifying at first, but you’ll get over it.” 

You might be interested: 2021 WEES Speaker Maria Piastre: A Latina leader excels in a male-dominated industry 

2021 WEES

If you’re looking for the inspiration and motivation to THRIVE! and make your career dreams come true, you won’t want to miss the 2021 Women’s Entrepreneur Empowerment Summit. 

Register now to hear more from Jessie Gabriel and other inspiring speakers, participate in deep-dive workshops that will give you the tools to grow your business, and also participate in our signature peer-to-peer networking sessions!

women entrepreneurs

CEO and founder of The Business of WE Paulina Lopez betting on women entrepreneurs

CEO and Founder of The Business of WE (Women Entrepreneurs) Paulina Lopez is betting on women entrepreneurs. She is a strong believer in the positive impact of women–of all ethnicities–in business…