Expanding Opportunities for Women Investors and Owners

450745961The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the National Women’s Business Council have joined forces in an effort to increase the flow of capital by and into small businesses run by women.  The overriding goal is to encourage greater participation by women on the financial and investing side of high-growth entrepreneurship.

“Developing a deeper pool of women investors and financiers is key toward expanding the marketplace of women-owned businesses,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “These roundtables, which will continue through 2015, are the first big steps we need to take together to make it possible for more women to invest in each other’s companies, while exponentially increasing the growth potential of these businesses.  This initiative complements our goals of providing counseling, capital and contracting to small businesses.”

“Today’s roundtable focused on the pipeline to women to careers in finance. An intimate conversation was facilitated between successful women in finance and academics. We have a responsibility to support young women in the pipeline – earlier and strategically. Today, we heard about the importance of thoughtful management, mentorship, and sharing women’s stories. It was clear that scholarships, sponsorship, scorecards, and also entrepreneurship and leadership institutes are important, and you can trust that the Council will be taking these suggestions into consideration,” said Carla Harris, Chair of the NWBC and Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Senior Client Advisor, Managing Director. 

The SBA and the NWBC will hold a series of roundtable discussions nationwide to develop policy recommendations that will become action items to be pursued by the SBA.  Today, the first in the series of meetings was held at Morgan Stanley in New York City.  Moderated by NWBC Chair Carla Harris and Javier Saade, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation, the session included questions about women entering and advancing in finance careers, with a focus on investing.

During the next few months, the working groups of about 20 will meet with investor and fund managers to discuss ways to increase the ranks of women investors while developing strategies to encourage investment in companies run by women.  The series will culminate with unveiling the policy recommendations at the Private Equity Women Investor Network Meeting, tentatively scheduled for May 2015.

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There is still time to register for the Third Annual Women Business Owner Conference in Orange County, CA. do it now! Created by Orange County networking group SCORE OC and held on October 30, 2014 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa.

Register today! 

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Small Business Optimism Returning

453525195Today American Express OPEN released results from the Fall 2014 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor which shows that small business owners’ optimism on business prospects and the economy continue to rise. In fact, 63% of entrepreneurs maintain a positive outlook, a level not reached since fall of 2007 (64%).

Now in its 13th year, the semi-annual survey captures a snapshot of small business owner sentiment and plans for the future while providing segmentation by industry, gender and geography.

Top level findings include:

  • 57% of small business owners plan to make capital investments over the next six months (compared to 55% in the spring, 54% last fall and 50% last spring )
  • 42% of entrepreneurs say their revenues are higher when compared to a year ago
  • 79% of business owners are increasingly confident they can access the capital they need to grow their businesses (up from 72% six months ago)
  • Cash flow concerns are easing (43%, down from 49% this spring).

To set their businesses apart from the competition, a majority of business owners say they will place a heightened focus on better serving their clients (85%, up from 78% this spring). As they further sharpen their focus on customers, an increasing number are analyzing data for their business (69%, up from 65% in the spring).  Small businesses main reasons for implementing data analytics include:

  • Improve current products/services (72%)
  • Make key business decisions (66%)
  • Boost efficiency (65%)
  • Identify ideas for marketing (58%)
  • Identify opportunities for new products (52%)
  • Track loyalty/rewards usage (37%)

In addition the semi-annual Small Business Monitor includes a Success Index to identify commonalities across successful businesses that can provide lessons for any small business. The index profiles four groups of entrepreneurs: High Achievers, Strivers, Sustainers and Strugglers.