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3 Ways More Women Can Access Venture Capital 0

Posted on March 12, 2015 by Tiffany C. Wright
Confident business woman seeking funds

Women must believe in their business’ success and make the ask.

I responded to a quote request from a journalist regarding women, women-owned businesses and venture capital. Here is my full response:


Women cannot shun the ask. Prepare your elevator speech and know it inside and out. You never know who you may be speaking to or who may be able to help you. Therefore, graciously let everyone know that you’re looking; do this by sharing your 45-90 second elevator speech whenever anyone asks what you do. Share this with your business network and at business networking events, but also with church groups, exercise groups, your hairdresser, whomever. Do not self-select! I have a former mentor whose friend’s father was a janitor for a Fortune 500 president. The janitor shared my mentor’s resume with the president and my mentor got a meeting!

In addition, begin attending angel network group meetings and venture conferences. At these events you will meet the individuals that can directly connect you.

Degrees of separation

Start with who you know and branch out from there.

Prepare a one-page investment profile.

I also highly recommend that women (everyone, actually) prepare a one-pager that succinctly states the funding need, market opportunity, money injected thus far, risks and opportunities, and exit strategy for the business. This can be handed out, or better yet, emailed to others. If those individuals are not personally interested but know of someone else who may be, they will gladly forward it on. Why? Because anyone can scan a one-pager! In addition, investors, including venture capitalists,  often have specific interest areas in which they invest but their network includes investors who invest in other areas. By sharing potential investment opportunities, investors support and build their networks.

Furthermore, the one-page investment profile sheet often leads to a request for an executive summary. This can then lead to a request for a meeting or presentation.

Start with who you know.

Finally, start with who you know and ask for introductions. Keep going from there. Remember the six degrees of separation? If you truly have no connections, find similarities between you and the venture capitalists you’re pursuing. I once sought $7 million in private equity funding, which I ultimately obtained, by emailing a number of funds with Wharton grads as partners. I used the headline “Wharton graduates seek $7 million for $2.8mil. EBITDA firm acquisition”, and championed our alumni affiliation in the body of the email. Of the 26 firms I emailed, all but one personally responded.

Women must remember that their women-owned businesses are valuable. Women must treat their businesses as such and have confidence in the business’ ability to generate value for both them and their investors.

Do you have any experiences you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them! Please share them below.

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3 Resources for Women Business Owners 0

Posted on August 17, 2011 by Tiffany C. Wright

Businesswoman Assisting Customers

There are a number of resources out there for entrepreneurs that provide a means of accessing advice, services, etc. at low or no cost. I always tell business owners to ask why do they need the money? What is the purpose? If it’s to pay for a business consultant, try SCORE, an SBDC or an MBDC. Or, if you are a woman entrepreneur, try an AWBC. Below are three resources that specifically cater to women business owners (or to others that support their respective missions).

Association of Women’s Business Centers

According to the website, “The Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) “supports entrepreneurial development among women as a way to achieve economic self-sufficiency, create wealth and participate in economic development through education, training, mentoring, business development and financing opportunities.”

Furthermore, the “AWBC and its network provide support and services to a range of women business owners including underserved women entrepreneurs to women securing rounds of venture capital in their businesses.”

National Association of Women Business Owners

According to their website, “The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by:

  • Strengthening the wealth creating capacity of our members and promoting economic development within the entrepreneurial community
  • Creating innovative and effective change in the business culture
  • Building strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations.”

NAWBO also certifies women owned businesses as “women business owned”  to access contracts targeted by corporations.

National Association for Female Executives

According to the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE)’s website, “The National Association for Female Executives, one of the country’s largest associations for women professionals and business owners, provides resources – through education, networking, and public advocacy- to empower its members to achieve both career and personal success.”


Angel Investment 2004-2010: Women & Minorities 0

Posted on July 21, 2011 by Tiffany C. Wright


Minority and Women Angel Investments

This information is compiled from surveys on angel investment activity conducted by the Center for Venture Research.

Women angel investors comprised ~5% of total angels. Women-owned businesses represented 4.7% of companies seeking angel funds and 12.5% of the companies that successfully obtained angel investment.

Minority angels comprised 3.6% of the market. Minority-owned companies, 5.4% of those seeking angel investments yet  20% of minority-owned ventures garnered angel investment.

Women angels represented 8.7% of the market. Women-owned companies seeking investment also represented 8.7% of the market.  A whopping 33% of the women-owned ventures seeking angel investment received it!! Minority angels represented 3.7% of angel investors who invested.  14.2% of firms seeking investment were minority-owned. Only 7.6% of these received angel investments, a significant drop from 2004.

Women angel investors represented 13.8% of the total angel investors. Women-owned businesses only accounted for 12.9% of companies seeking angel investment, yet 21.5% of those women-owned ventures seeking received investment received it.

Minority angels represented 3.4% of total angel investors. Minority-owned businesses accounted for 6.9% of the companies seeking angel investment. Only 7.1% of minority entrepreneurs received angel funds.

Women angels comprised 12% of active angel investors. Women-owned ventures were 12.7% of those seeking capital. 16% of these companies received angel investments.

Minority angels made up 3.0% of active angels. Minority-owned firms represented 4.7% of those pursuing angel investment with 21.2% of those receiving angel investment, a return to 2004 levels.

Women angels made up 16.5% of active angel investors. Women-owned firms represented 15.7% of the total pursuing angel investment. Only 9.5% of those received angel capital.

Meanwhile, minority angels represented 3.6% of all active angels. Minority-owned companies pursuing angel investment made up 3.7% of the total. 11.3% of those minority entrepreneurs received angel investment.

Women angels comprised 11.3% of angel investors this year. Women-owned ventures made up 21% of those pursuing angel capital and 9.4% of hose receiving.

Minority angels represented 3.5% of the total active angels. Minority-owned ventures seeking angel investment comprised 6.2% of the total. 14.2% of those receiving were minority entrepreneurs.


Women angels made up 13% of the angels. Women-owned ventures seeking angel investment again made up 21% of the total number of entrepreneurial ventures pursuing angel investment. Women-owned ventures receiving investment comprised 13% of that total.

That same year, minority angels made up only 2% of the angel investors. Minority-owned companies seeking angel investment made up 6% of the total. Those receiving, 19% of the total.

The Center for Venture Research recommends that, given the data, more minority-owned and women owned companies need to attract angel investor attention. In addition, both groups “need to increase their ‘investor readiness’ through education and networking”.

SBA releases implementation schedule for new Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program 0

Posted on February 03, 2011 by Tiffany C. Wright

Release Date: February 1, 2011
Contact: Tiffani Clements (202) 401-0035
Release Number: 11-09
Internet Address:

WASHINGTON – Women-owned small businesses can begin taking steps to participate in a new federal contracting program on Friday, Feb. 4, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today. The new Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program will be fully implemented over the next several months, with the first contracts expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011.

“Implementing the Women-Owned Small Business contracting rule has been a top priority for the Obama Administration and SBA,” said Administrator Karen Mills. “Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. As we continue to look to small businesses to grow, create jobs and lead America into the future, women-owned businesses will play a key role. That’s why providing them with all the tools necessary to compete for and win federal contracts is so important. Federal contracts can provide women-owned small businesses with the oxygen they need to take their business to the next level.”

The WOSB Federal Contract Program will provide greater access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The Program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.

On Feb. 4, SBA will release instructions on how to participate in the program, as well as launch the secure, online data repository for WOSBs to upload required documents, on its website: SBA will also release an application to become an SBA-approved third party certifier for this program on that date. This will be the first version of the application. SBA welcomes comments and suggestions on this first version of the application.

During the ramp up period over the next several months, SBA is encouraging small business owners to review program requirements and ensure their required documents are uploaded to the repository. WOSBs also will need to update their status in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Online Representation and Certification Application (ORCA) to indicate to contracting officers that they are eligible to participate. The General Services Administration is currently updating these systems and they are expected to be completed in April, 2011.

Similarly, the WOSB rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which is the companion to the SBA rule, is now going through final review, and is also expected to be issued by April. With these pieces in place, SBA expects to see the first contracts awarded through the program by the all-important fourth quarter, when the largest percent of federal contracts are awarded.

Every firm that wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. At this time, SBA has not approved any third party certifiers. Regardless of their certification method, WOSBs must also upload required documents proving their eligibility to a secure online data repository developed and maintained by SBA.

To qualify as a WOSB, a firm must be at least fifty-one percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards. To be deemed “economically disadvantaged”, a firm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the program regulations.

The WOSB Program identifies eighty-three four-digit North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) codes where WOSBs are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented. Contracting officers may set aside contracts in these industries if the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price, the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract and the anticipated contract price is not greater than $5 million for manufacturing contracts and $3 million for other contracts.

Each stage of implementation is part of SBA’s mission to make the Program efficient and user-friendly, and to ensure its benefits go only to qualifying WOSBs. SBA is excited to launch this new program to provide WOSBs with increased opportunities to compete for and win federal contracts, ultimately helping WOSBs create and retain more jobs.
For more information on the Women-Owned Small Business Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, please visit

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