I read this fascinating article by Sarah Kaplan in MIT Sloan, “Why Social Responsibility Produces More Resilient Organizations,” that cited the sad reality of women’s access to capital. Apparently, even today, women-owned businesses capture less than 3% of venture capital.
In the article, Kaplan highlights the ways many companies are focusing on social responsibility to make an impact. For example, Walmart set out to source $20 billion in products exclusively from women-owned businesses. Along the way, they discovered they needed to help these companies develop with new financing options, business training, and the kicker—expanded training to reach men to gain their support for the businesses that the women in their lives were running.
As someone who fought hard to get a seat at the table, one of my core values is to give back through service projects, education, and coaching. It’s not enough to put up pretty pictures or sad statistics to show support of causes. If we really want to make an impact, we have to put action behind those sentiments. There are so many places where we need better access to education, funding, and a supportive network to create a foundation of success.
That’s why I am thrilled to participate as a coach for the upcoming LaunchU program. LaunchU is an intensive 8-week course for people ready to turn their business idea into reality. And it’s not just a business class. It’s hands-on and guided by people with real-world experience. In the course, each participant will walk away with:
A feasibility plan
Facilitated curriculum supported by a business coach
Pitch presentation planning
Potential to earn a micro-grant from a pitch contest
Starting a new business is challenging. I am excited to be part of the amazing group of people that will help these women get a seat at the table. What a great way to kick off the new year.