Women’s Entrepreneurship: Implementing the Pinkprint for Business
For decades the world has focused on blueprints for business success. Last week at the HOPE Global Forum 200 empowered women entrepreneurs shifted that conversation and introduced their Pinkprint for success. Marshaling their shared vision and diverse expertise, these women developed an ecosystem rooted in authenticity and genuine support for each other. Women uplifting other women remained the overarching goal of the accelerator. Cheers, tears, and even songs kept the momentum going for nearly 10 hours of hands-on business plan strategic development. Lauren Maillian served as MC for the day, while Brandi and Karli Harvey provided the keynote address and motivated the women to reach for the stars.
Bank experts and strategy facilitators supported peer-to-peer interactions at each table, and by 6:00 the seventeen women selected by their peers were ready to pitch for start-up capital provided by Operation HOPE, Mastercard, Meta Bank, and Square. In the end, three businesses received their $2,500 awards, and 200 women received the support and acknowledgment that the pathway to entrepreneurship is achievable.
It’s not surprising that the event was over-subscribed. Women in the U.S. are starting businesses and generating jobs at a quicker pace than their male counterparts. The fastest growing segment of our economy is women’s business ownership, especially among women of color. This phenomenon is no longer an anomaly – the rationale for investing in women-owned businesses is sound. Equity investments in women-owned businesses perform better than male-owned businesses, but when women entrepreneurs pitch for funding the statistics are not pretty. According to Forbes, only 2.2% of all venture capital in the U.S. is directed to women-founded companies. It is no surprise that only 2% make it to $1M in revenue.
Despite the odds, an American Express “State of Women-Owned Businesses Report” found that there were 12.3 million women-owned businesses at the end of 2018, and that women were starting businesses at a rate of 1,800 per day. Women are starting small businesses at a higher rate than men, and their businesses are generating jobs and business revenues above the national average. Supporting female entrepreneurs, particularly women of color, will unlock tremendous growth for their women and their communities. Operation HOPE launched its Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator to address the needs of women small business owners. In addition to the accelerator, HOPE developed an online entrepreneur training program designed to generate business plans and robust financials that a bank or VC can underwrite.
HOPE is teaching the language of small business to aspiring entrepreneurs, and over the next few weeks, we will highlight the many women business leaders who presented at the HOPE Global Forum Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator.
First up, Martice Sutton and her business, Girls Going Global which was a favorite of the judges and a recipient of a $2,500 capital award. Under the leadership of Martice Sutton, the organization is a global education program that empowers young women and provides them with an opportunity to visit and experience new countries and communities. Girls Going Global empowers young women as global citizens by exposing them to new cultures and educational experiences.
Often unattainable in communities of color, international travel benefits young girls by contributing to their confidence, independence and their adaptability. Their cultural perspectives are enhanced and they see the world through a culturally relative lens. This positive impact is paramount in a young woman’s development.
Girls Going Global provides the experiences and foundations to allow young women to make and leave their mark on a global stage. This personal and professional engagement focuses on global awareness, leadership training, and civic engagement. Girls have the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops, meetings with experts, team building activities, service learning projects, and field trips.
The heart and brains behind Girls Going Global, Ms. Sutton fills her life with passion and purpose. She has traveled to South Africa, Europe, Asia, and Central America – a true global citizen. While working with girls in India, she recognized the power of new experiences that could only be attained by placing young women in new cultures and situations. Now, through Girls Going Global, she empowers African-American girls through cultural exchange.
Martice Sutton and Girls Going Global are changing the world one girl at a time.
Martice Sutton, Girls Going Global
Featured photo (top): 2019 HOPE Global Forum Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Winners