It’s well known that women and minority entrepreneurs miss out on some of the opportunities that their white male peers enjoy. The traditional “old boys’ network” is still a powerful source of support and investment money for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. However, by overlooking women and minorities, investors are also missing out and leaving money on the table.
Supporting these leaders isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. Today, women are starting businesses at twice the rate that men are. In the last decade, the number of women-owned firms has grown by 28.6 percent, compared to a 24.4 percent increase for all U.S. businesses. In addition, Hispanic and African American women are the fastest growing entrepreneurial segments in the country. Their numbers have increased at rates of 133.3 percent and 191.4 percent from 1997 to 2007, respectively. That’s around $14 billion in gross receipts.
Even better news: In many cases, these businesses are outperforming more traditional companies. In fact, one study by Emory University showed that women-led social enterprises generated an average of 15 percent more revenue than their male-led counterparts. The problem is that they’re 4 percent less likely to receive funding in the first place. This trend applies to minority-owned firms, too; Entrepreneurs of color receive less than half the equity investments that non-minority businesses do.
At SVN, we’re working to level the playing field by giving women and minority entrepreneurs access to a network of investors, CEOs and advisors who can help their ventures thrive. We believe in businesses that focus on the “triple bottom line”: people, planet and profit. The more inclusive the business world is, the more effective it can be in helping to solve social and environmental problems.
Check out our “Triple the Triple Bottom Line” campaign to learn more about how we’re working to offer women and minority entrepreneurs scholarships and valuable support services that can help them connect to investors, mentors and peers.
Since 1987, Social Venture Network (SVN) has been the leading network of entrepreneurs who are transforming the way the world does business. SVN connects the leaders of socially responsible enterprises to share wisdom and resources, form strategic alliances and explore new solutions that build a more just and sustainable economy.
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