Women Entrepreneurs Finding More Access to Startup Funding
When Tory Burch started designing her fashion collection in 2004, she had no idea of the obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs as they attempt to get funding or support to grow their businesses. For example, it wasn’t until 2012 that Tory Burch received funding from private equity firm General Atlantic (in fact, General Atlantic’s Bill E. Ford still sits on the company’s board of directors).
But even before she got that funding, Burch started the Tory Burch Foundation to help women around the world achieve their business goals. “Women have always been entrepreneurial, but on average they are starting businesses with 50 percent less capital than men,” said Tory Burch Foundation Vice President of Programs Désirée Younge in a recent interview. “Venture capitalists often don’t invest in them, or they are turned down for loans from traditional lenders.”
The Tory Burch Foundation’s Fellows Program is designed for women entrepreneurs. It provides a community of support that allows participants to connect, learn, and grow their businesses. The program includes one year of support from the foundation, a $10,000 grant for fellows to advance their business education, and an opportunity to pitch their business to the Burch Foundation for a chance at a $100,000 grant investment.
Many other groups have also seen the need to help women entrepreneurs get the necessary training and funding to grow their businesses. Here are just a few:
37 Angels is a community of professional women whose mission is to educate early-stage investors and train more women to become investors. It runs bootcamps to help funders learn the art of angel investing and provides an opportunity for founders to pitch the 37 Angels network for funding.
This organization leads high-potential Black and Latinx women founders through the startup pipeline. It offers a 26-week incubator program, networking events, and a research initiative focused on women of color and tech entrepreneurship.
Female Founders Fund
This fund launched in 2014 with a goal of investing in early-stage, female-founded tech companies. Female Founders Fund’s areas of focus include e-commerce, web-enabled services and products, marketplaces, and platforms.
This organization bills itself as the first female-led millennial venture capital firm. SoGal Ventures invests in pre-Seed to Series A stage diverse founding teams in the U.S. and Asia. According to their website, they “believe in the power of diversity, borderless business, and human-centric design.”
Although women investors are becoming more common—in 2016, 26 percent of angels were women, a figure that has more than doubled since 2011—that number still needs to increase. The Tory Burch Foundation and these other organizations are doing their part to help women founders with great ideas get the capital and support they need to grow their businesses.