We're well into 2nd Q 2004, and entrepreneurs and small business folks are getting the sweats over how the year is going to pan out. Everyone is concerned with "the bottom line." I have never been sure what that is...for me, the bottom line is accomplishing what I set out to do. I guess I'm too new to the profit making sector to equate profits with my bottom line. (As a woman, I can't help sighing whenever I write bottom line; everyone knows what women think of their bottom lines--metaphorically speaking, of course).
Over the weekend, a delightful young man wrote me an email to let me know he's a loyal reader of Lip-sticking and I took a jaunt over to his business blog to see who was paying me such a compliment. What a nice surprise! Dane Carlson has developed a blog that exists to help small business folk, and entrepreneurs, get ahead---by providing links and advice that they would have to search high and low for on the net. Let's face it, the net is not the easiest place to get information, despite reports to the contrary.
Dane's Business-Opportunites Weblog is nicely done, has some valuable links, and is a must-see for anyone still struggling to find their place in the world of "doing it on your own."
Business-Opportunities Weblog was so good, I clicked through a link to Anita Campbell's and David Patterson's blog Small Business Trends to see what was going on in the small business world that I might not know. This blog has POWERBlog Reviews, a weekly series of reviews on other weblogs, relevant information on marketing and business trends (as one would expect) and...I was happy to discover some VC advice in an article titled "Entrepreneurs Make Money Last Longer." The advice comes from Highlights of the Venture Capital Report, put together by "PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics, and the National Venture Capital Association, and can be found on the MoneyTree site." The PDF states that "Venture capital kept up a steady pace in the first three months of the year. Investments in the first quarter of 2004 totaled $4.6 billion going into 618 companies."
Can't say, at this point, whether any of that is going to women-owned businesses, but I can say that it should be! A trip over to Kristin's site at re:inventioninc is showing some pretty fantastic, and new, stats on women-owned businesses. You can read about it in this NYTimes article. (Thanks for that great info, Kristin!)
But finding investment funds for your woman-owned business doesn't stop there. Further exploration turned up a neat website called DiversityInc which posted this article on April 28th, "The Next Level: Venture Capital for Minority-Owned Businesses." It may not open for you...one needs to be a member to access some of this site's content, so I will give you the highlights:
On Thursday, April 22, the Minority Business Roundtable (MBRT) announced the "creation of the MBRT Venture Capital Fund." The stats in this report mirror much of what is showing in Kristin's post: that "New U.S. minority-owned businesses, according to census data, have been growing at more than six times the rate of all firms and twice the rate of firms in annual sales." The fund is planning to provide emerging businesses with up to $500,000 each as seed or second round financing. Mary-Frances Winters, president and CEO of The Winters Group was quoted in the DiversityInc article, saying this about the creation of this new VC funding group, "MBRT requires substantially less equity, so [women] can maintain their minority status." The Winters Group is located here in my local Rochester, NY area which means contacting Mary-Frances is a priority on my to-do list this week.
Within the whole funding issues, women have the benefit, or the misfortune, to be in that overall label of "minority-owned businesses" depending on how you look at it. The EEOC includes us in its "disadvantaged groups" and the Minority Business Development Agency offers government funding for women, also. Yet, we are not a minority; the U.S. census puts women at 51% of the population. And, we are only disadvantaged because VC funding and banks won't give us our due. We're strong, capable business leaders, and you will see us prove it on the Internet, in short order.
Thanks go to Dane Carlson for his email, for being a loyal reader, and getting me going on this issue.
What's not to like about that?