Women are often overlooked or underappreciated when it comes to participating in investment forums, serving on boards, and leading companies. Women pursuing investment capital and GETTING investment capital are disadvantaged because many forums aren’t “friendly” to our styles, values, and perspectives. There are nationally recognized forums for women-owned and led businesses to participate in, but isn’t it time that we engage the mainstream capital markets? Women mean business.

Successful women-owned and led businesses have typically boot-strapped or borrowed to fund their businesses. The capital markets have not been receptive. Much of the cool reception and limited success may be that women haven’t been encouraged and supported by the investor forums. Also, many women may not have been informed about how to become an investor.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • The Center for Women’s Business Research estimated that as of 2004, nearly half of all privately-held businesses in the United States are owned 50% or more by women.
  • Even though women-owned businesses account for $1.3 trillion in sales, employ 9.5 million people, and have a growth rate of 17% from 1997 to 2004 (versus 9% growth rate for other firms), women-owned businesses get only 5 – 9% of venture funds.
  • A Fortune magazine article cited a research study by Catalyst showing that Fortune 500 firms with the highest representation of women in leadership and executive positions had 35% higher return on investment.

Women-led businesses are successful businesses. Expanding the role of women business leaders needs to include participation in the capital markets process – seeking funding, leading the businesses, and investing in other businesses. Taking an active role and stepping into the investment arena enables women to make a powerful statement and build additional financial success.

The NC Regional Capital Markets Exchange is an opportunity for successful women to engage in capital markets. Women-owned businesses are encouraged to participate and pursue funding through the forums, seeking investors to take their business to the next level. Women who meet the criteria to be an accredited investor are also encouraged to participate.

If you aren’t familiar with funding – as a company or as an individual investor – and you’d like more information, contact Lea Strickland at 919.234.3960 or email her at lea@focusresourcesinc.com.   You may also check out the forum website at www.capitalmarketexchange.com.

Lea Strickland, President of F.O.C.U.S. Resources, author, and columnist, works with bio-tech, tech, and fast/emerging companies to increase profitability and compliance through strategic financial practices, such as financial modeling, budgeting and control systems, operational structure improvements, etc.

F.O.C.U.S. Resources is a strategic consulting practice that emphasizes the impact of non-financial business activities on financial results. F.O.C.U.S. Resources works with companies with complex issues and/or going through a “significant” event –start-up, funding, expanding operations, or divesting products, business units, etc. From the strategic finance perspective, F.O.C.U.S. Resources works with the client to determine the market impact/position, operational needs and issues, and translates that into improved financial performance. F.O.C.U.S Resources is also recognized as a specialist in government funding compliance programs. Learn more here.

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