Entrepreneurs Win at House Small Business Committee Markup

By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations

32cc090e-78c0-46b6-8130-e810a45a4029WIPP’s access to capital platform, Breaking the Bank, continues to gain traction in Congress as two more priorities cleared the House Small Business Committee during this morning’s markup. The Commercializing on Small Business Innovation Act provides much needed improvements to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These programs provide funding for small businesses to innovate through research and development partnerships with federal agencies. WIPP’s platform advocates for a public-private partnership to accelerate the commercialization of technologies developed through the SBIR & STTR programs and the bill passed today does just that. The Commercialization Assistance Pilot Program will allow small businesses to receive additional funding to assist entrepreneurs with bringing their products to market after completing the program.

Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are an invaluable resource for the 10 million women entrepreneurs in the country who annually contribute $1.4 trillion to the nation’s economy. Legislation to reauthorize this program, the Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2015, was cleared by the Senate Committee on Small Business last fall and now the House Committee has followed suit. The Developing the Next Generation of Small Businesses Act of 2016 provides much needed updates to the WBC program including expanding annual authorized funding to $21.75 million and increasing the grants available to centers that provide training and counseling to entrepreneurs.

We would like to thank Chair Steve Chabot (R-OH), Ranking Member Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) for prioritizing women entrepreneurs and passing both pieces legislation with bipartisan, unanimous votes.




Introducing Peer-To-Peer Lending: Alternative Funding for Your Small Business

SBA Advocacy- P2P issue brief

The Office of Advocacy is an independent office within the Small Business Administration that is a great source for small business statistics, as well as a voice for small business owners that can express their views and issues to policy makers in DC. Today, the Office of Advocacy released an issue brief on “Peer-To-Peer Lending: A Financing Alternative for Small Businesses”.

To explain a little more, Peer-To-Peer Lending or P2P is a funding model where individual investors give small personal loans online to individuals. The Office of Advocacy describes P2P as a hybrid of crowdfunding and marketplace lending.

The issue brief released today details the funding model and gives a side-by-side view of P2P and traditional small business financing options. It also shows how it could affect small businesses in the future, giving them more opportunity for financial growth.

Read the brief to learn more.

What We Can Learn from High Growth Women Owned Firms

By Annie Wilson, Intern

Last year Susan Coleman D.P.S. and Alicia Robb Ph. D published research prepared for the National Women’s Business Council examining the factors affecting access to capital for high-growth women-owned businesses. In their research, Coleman and Robb found that currently in the business community 30% of businesses were owned by women, however they are mostly small:

  • only 12% of women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) employ anyone other than the business owner;
  • 2% have 10 or more employees; and
  • only 2% have revenues in excess of $1 million.

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This new data shows the need to engage and educate women owned businesses on growth strategies that can expand their businesses.

This report delves deeper into the issues relating to capital accessibility specifically for growth oriented firms, which comparative studies have yet to research thoroughly due to a lack of data.

According to the study, access to capital may be more challenging for women-owned firms than for men for a multitude of reasons:

  • In terms of financial capital, there are considerable gender gaps in the amounts of financing across firms. Men start firms with nearly double the amount of capital that women do and, of high growth firms, men use more than double of what women use. Men also indicated to have used six times the amount of financing that women do.
  • For startup capital, women were found to be more reliant on owner equity and insider financing as opposed to men who used outsider equity predominantly. For women owned firms, a very small fraction of startup capital came from outsider equity regardless of where the firm was on the size spectrum.
  • In terms of credit market experiences, women indicated to have similar loan application rates as men even though there are more unmet credit needs among women. Women were more likely to not apply for the necessary credit due to a fear of a denied loan application. Also, credit scores are generally lower for women.
  • While men and women are on par in terms of education levels, men exceed women in degrees in the STEM fields, which is the industry that experiences more growth.
  • By means of industry experience, as women tend to have lower levels of startup experience, team ownership and hours worked compared to men.
  • Women have higher rates of owning businesses that are home-based due to family commitments and research has indicated that being home based is negatively related to growth.

However, when comparing the top ranking female businesses by employment and growth potential, there are some considerable differentiations that set them aside.

  • They had a higher rate of employment from their startup year onwards.
  • They are more likely to be in tech industries.
  • They were more likely to offer services as opposed to products.
  • They were less likely to be based from the owner’s home.
  • They were more likely to be incorporated and as a result yield higher credit scores.

For leadership traits, women business owners of high growth firms also had some unique characteristics:

  • They were likely to have more years of industry experience and more likely to have more startup experience.
  • They started their businesses with much more capital (even more than the male owned firms overall.)
  • They used more outsider equity for startup capital. However, this was typically still less than their male counterparts.

Learning from these success measures, it is clear that increased capital for women entrepreneurs, specifically in the startup phase of their business, has an important correlation to the trajectory of women owned businesses. In order to foster a more successful environment for women, there must be changes in the business environment to give women the support and resources they need to turn this trend around.

It is clear that the financing gap between men and women business owners is a considerable detriment to the vitality of women-owned firms. In order to ensure stronger female entrepreneurship and make strides towards closing this gap, efforts must be made to strengthen the financial capabilities of women entrepreneurs and encourage accessibility to bank and equity financing. Also, providing more visibility and accessibility to successful female industry professionals and providing more opportunity for women to attain industry experience could help bolster the entrepreneurial confidence that women need to compete with their male competitors. Another important step forward would be an increased use of family-friendly policies, which could give women the flexibility to work outside of their homes and in an environment more conducive to entrepreneurial growth.

Take a look at WIPP’s recently launched Access to Capital platform to address funding gaps and the crisis of capital faced by women entrepreneurs.

To read the full report, click here.

6 Women Entrepreneurs Share How They Raised VC Funds

VCIf you are a woman entrepreneur trying to raise venture capital, this article, written by Vivian Giang, will certainly guide through the majors difficulties. It will let you succeed in the “Jungle” of raising venture capital funds, or at least it is going to give very useful advices. This article (Hyperlink) shares the stories of six women entrepreneurs who have successfully acquired funding in this complicated system.

Sure statistics prove that the method of financing still has some challenges, especially when you think that male entrepreneurs are 40% more likely to get VC funding than female founders, but change is on the horizon, and these entrepreneurs are certainly an example of tenacity and sharpness.

Get to know Nicole Sanchez, founder of luxury hair distribution company, VIXXENN ; Jessica Richman, cofounder and CEO of uBiome, a platform for microbiome sequencing; Mada Seghete, cofounder of developer tool, Branch Metrics; Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of JOOR, a private online fashion marketplace for wholesale buying; Fern Mandelbaum, entrepreneur, managing partner at Vista Venture Partners and lecturer at Stanford Business School; and Umaimah Mendhro, cofounder and CEO of VIDA, an e-commerce platform that aims to connect designers, artists, producers, and consumers.

Read the article here.