By Charumini de Silva
With a view to enhance the participation of women entrepreneurs in business and particularly in the exports sector, the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) recently held a forum titled ‘Women to the Fore in Exports’ to encourage increased participation of women in the economic development of Sri Lanka.
The forum identified and discussed key issues both at the policy and operational levels that hinder the participation of women in business activities, as well as facilitate cross-border trading transactions to accelerate economic development. The discussion also highlightedon the available Government assistance for women led businesses, especially women led startups, since the objective of the NCE is to encourage women entrepreneurs to focus on the field of exports as a professional career path, as well as a rewarding business.
During the forum the Chamber also launched its latest initiative, ‘NCE Women’s Wing’ to provide services specifically for women exporters as well as potential entrepreneurs and exporters. The NCE intends to provide a series of services such as market information, facilitating the provision of resources, and advice to build a sustainable international business for women who engage in business globally.
In addition a dedicated webpage for women entrepreneurs in the award winning NCE website, was also launched during the event.
To read more about their plans to enhance women leadership roles, Click Here
Animus Women's Innovation Summit founder Lucienne Gigante says providing economic opportunities for women is what will set our global communities on a path to prosperity.
A month and a half after Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, leaving devastation in its wake, Lucienne Gigante says she knew exactly what she had to do.
Gigante has not one job, but four. She is works as a managing director at Golden Seeds, a venture capital and private equity firm that focuses on investing in women-led startups. She also runs strategy positioning firm LuGi, which helps companies align their community outreach programs with their business goals. Gigante also co-founded AccessLatina, a nonprofit that provides women entrepreneurs with access to capital.
Finally, in 2015, she co-founded the Animus Women’s Innovation Summit, an organization designed to help women grow and succeed professionally. After the storm, Gigante felt a responsibility to do her part to help as much as she could, the best way she knew how.
“In Puerto Rico, 60 percent of women heads of households in the labor force live below poverty level. And Puerto Rico has been going through a very long recession,” Gigante explains. “How can we provide the opportunities for the other 50 percent of the population to reach their economic potential?”
There was no question: the show -- Animus’s third annual conference in San Juan -- had to go on, even if it was a few weeks later than Gigante had originally planned. The event was sold out. On Dec. 1, 2017, more than 800 women networked and heard from established business owners, new startup founders and big names such as EGOT winner Rita Moreno. The fourth summit will be held on Nov. 30.
“There was an incredible challenge. We were then and [in many cases are] still fighting for survival for basic needs. So that became even more of an important mission to leverage driving women's economic development as a solution to move forward,” Gigante tells Entrepreneur. “Opening doors to women's economic development [is] a solution for a country, a town, a community to transform itself.”
Gigante shared her insights about how to build the infrastructure to help you, and everyone around you, accomplish goals. Click Here to Read More.
Last year, the largest VC deal for a female team was $165 million -- a stark contrast to that for males, which was $3 billion. 98 Percent of VC Funding Goes to Men. Can Women Entrepreneurs Change a Sexist System?
Last year, the largest VC deal for a female team was $165 million -- a stark contrast to that for males, which was $3 billion.
It was January 2017. A 26-year-old Nadia Genevieve Masri made her way up to the second floor office of a venture capital fund in San Francisco. She was there to ask for $500,000.
Masri already had four startups under her belt, and she was raising her first round of VC funding for Perksy, a market research company targeting millennial and Gen-Z audiences. She knew market research was a $45 billion industry and that there was no leading mobile solution -- meaning companies like Pepsi were spending well over $50 million per year without certainty of directly reaching younger generations. Masri’s idea: an app where, in exchange for rewards at companies like Nordstrom, Sephora, Delta and Netflix, users would answer stacks of focused questions from brands on their likes, dislikes and views on current events.
Masri had done the research: She knew her service was unique, that companies would pay for it and that, with the right capital, she could deliver promising results. But the men sitting across the table weren’t sold, telling Masri she was too early -- that they wanted to “see how this goes.”
Self-doubt lingered in the back of Masri’s mind: It’s probably just me. It’s probably just the way I’m communicating this. Nevertheless, she kept plugging away, raising $250,000 in a friends and family funding round, then pitching her idea to Marcy Simon, an angel investor in New York. Simon was the first angel to cut Masri a check, and she helped rally other investors behind the idea -- leading to another $250,000 in funding and Perksy’s January 2018 launch. Within six months, that initial $500,000 in funding brought in $3 million in the pipeline.
Masri still thinks back to those VC rejections and the insecurity that accompanied them, but she has a new outlook now. She says if you’re second-guessing your company, remember the rejection may have nothing to do with your idea itself. Throughout the fundraising process, Masri doesn’t remember meeting with a single female venture capitalist. And even after her company’s seminal success, she still gets eyebrow raises from male investors when she talks about next steps.
Click Here to Read More
The investors may not be lining up yet, but these women entrepreneurs believe that government support and personal grit will help others in Bihar realise their startup dreams.
Education is the key to a bright future and the Bihar government is going all out with its online facilitation system for students (OFSS), tapping technology to provide a platform that allows students to apply for higher education.
Across the country, people have a tendency to write off Bihar, often pegged as a backward state that is heavily dependent on agriculture. However, the startup wave flowing through the state has shown that people here have ideas, grit, and commitment. Investors may not be lining up just yet, but a few women entrepreneurs are riding the startup wave.
YourStory spoke to five women to understand the challenges unique to Bihar, the support available to them from government and peers, and to learn how they are addressing local challenges and problems, and nurturing their ventures with a vision to scale.
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Entrepreneur Kisha Mays is on a mission to create as many millionaires as she can from female-run businesses.
The founder and CEO of Just Fearless, her business-development consultancy helps women entrepreneurs scale up and expand into international markets.
To do this Mays is often on the move all over the world. Based in Hong Kong and Los Angeles, she travels about eight months out of the year making connections and working on projects across the globe from Europe to Asia and beyond.
The author of “From Failure to Fearless: Still Completely Flawed BUT Thriving Fearlessly,” Mays has a goal of helping 1 million women entrepreneurs generate at least $1 million in annual revenue by Dec. 31, 2025.
Kisha Mays told Moguldom just how she plans on achieving this goal.
Moguldom: How can you help 1 million women entrepreneurs to earn at least $1 million in annual revenue?
Kisha Mays: I plan to accomplish this through global partnerships that will expand our reach, through my Angel Fund to support and invest in female founders, and through the creation of a grassroots movement that is happening now. Thanks in part to the movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, women are showing that they will do what is necessary to see change and they are doing it fearlessly. The time is now. You must be the change you want to see and that is exactly what I am doing. Rather than focus on the negative, I would rather focus on the positive and make an impact to change the course of where we are heading.
Moguldom: Why did you want to do this?
Kisha Mays: I built my business working with women around the world, but I knew that by continuing going business-to-business, it would take a very long time to create change. I also knew if there were more women in power we would not see the division, poverty, and the like that we currently see in this world. In order to make that happen, we need more female-founded and -operated profitable businesses which will change families, communities, cities, countries, and generations. With more profitable businesses, jobs are created, poverty can be eliminated, and we can support women running for political office. They need not only our votes, but also our financial contributions which is a lot easier when you when you can eliminate the financial challenges in life.
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