Sunday, March 17, 2019

small business ideas for men

small business ideas for men

Women Tackling Traditionally Male Dominated Industries - Important And Long Overdue - Forbes

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 03:18 AM PDT

Let's help more women succeed as entrepreneurs in any market thy wish to enter.Getty

Here in San Francisco, I've been feeling the winds of positive change picking up speed for women entrepreneurs. I am seeing more women take the leap into entrepreneurship, and more women persevere through the challenges that come with founding and running a company. In turn, as these women founders and CEOs are cognizant of hiring a diverse workforce - they help create more of a virtuous cycle. As economic empowerment for women increases it adds to GDP, increases job opportunities as new companies form, and creates incentives for all people to invest more equally in order to earn more consistent, positive returns. There is a clear moral imperative to increase equality, but sometimes people are unable to properly attribute outcomes to inequity versus chance or talent. This is easily demonstrated by the differences between men's and women's opinions on what causes certain gender disparities. Viewed as a purely economic issue, however, it is obvious that gender equality should be everyone's goal.

As a whole, closing the gender gap would add an additional $1.5 trillion to the US economy alone. Even closing just the global economic participation gap by 25% by the year 2025 is calculated to add and additional $5.3 trillion to the world economy. Aside from the moral imperative of equality (which, lest we forget, should be the main driving force), the economic windfall for all people, men included, cannot be ignored. The benefits for men of female empowerment and gender quality are significant enough that it becomes a poor investment decision for all people not to actively push for the fair treatment of women in the marketplace.

But, even with the obvious benefits of enhancing women's participation and success in entrepreneurship, when a woman has a good business idea for a traditionally male dominated space, she can face even greater challenges on the road to success. To dig into the problem deeper to look for potential solutions, I turned to one such outlier woman entrepreneur.

Before Mary Spio founded CEEK VR, a distributor of cryptographically authenticated immersive experiences and merchandise, she was helping giants like Boeing and Lucas Films develop industry-changing technologies that would revolutionize movie distribution. Although the technology is now used globally with films such as Star Wars, her path into the tech world began with a much simpler idea. "As a little girl growing up in Africa, we didn't have much, but we did have a small TV. I remember watching a documentary on the moon landing and wishing I could be in the TV, actually walking on the moon." Already Spiro stands out.

Spio, who built her impressive career creating content and technologies for companies such as Universal Music, Microsoft XBOX, and Clear Channel, is a deep space engineer, and has served in the Air Force, wanted to use her experience to create something different. "In 2014, while I was at Facebook, I got the rare opportunity to try on the Oculus Rift – a VR headset that Facebook later acquired for $3 billion. I was instantly transported back to being 10 years old again. This time, I didn't have to wonder – I was actually walking on the moon. I knew if the simple act of watching TV could inspire me to become a deep space scientist, image the potential this device held for learning and humanity in general. It became my mission instantly to make access to Virtual Reality within arm's reach for everyone."

The issue for female entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech space where Spio operates, is that getting started can be much harder than it is for their male counterparts. Funding of female ventures is lean at best and paltry to non-existent at worst – all-male founders received 97.6% of the estimated $60 billion in venture capital invested in 2016. "The two major challenges that I've faced as a woman entrepreneur are the lack of funding and support. Because there aren't as many female tech unicorns, it's difficult to get support for women-led companies. Compounding that lack-of-funding challenge is the lack of support networks with real financial resources" said Spio.

Even when she found prominent female investors, they were often wives or daughters of successful male tech entrepreneurs, lacking real-world understanding of the challenges an emerging tech company faced. Women-led or directed funds would also attempt to push her focus towards women's issues, nonprofit endeavors, or issues more "female" spaces such as education. "Startups have to build strong, sustainable businesses irrespective of industry. Unfortunately, many women entrepreneurs are forced to go where they will be given funds, so they stay out of areas where they could be tremendous assets for fear of not getting support."

Spio, on the other hand, is a shining example of intelligence and ingenuity combined with a strong "bootstraps" mentality. Both smart and courageous, she went about implementing her dream in a different way than most business owners. "I am not your typical Silicon Valley prototype, so I couldn't depend on the gatekeepers and traditional network of funds that are often dismissive of anyone that doesn't fit the mold," she tells me. "I solved the funding challenge by leveraging my network. Your network is indeed your net worth. It's all about finding your tribe of people who believe in your vision and are willing to support you in your growth."

Spio is careful to acknowledge that it is important not to assume that all rejection is based on gender. "Keep in mind, VC's have their agendas and your vision might not align with theirs. If you are not a fit for them, it could be that you are not ready or that you simply don't fit their thesis or plan." That said, she knows that her business was able to succeed, in part, due to the inclusion of both men and women in her grand scheme to create transformative experiences and the types of content she wants to see in the world. "I was also able to get seed funding from savvy investors and diversity funds who realized the value of undervalued, yet highly performing, groups such as women. The returns are exponential because being different is an opportunity to open new, untapped markets that others simply don't understand or see."

This statement has proven itself numerous times over my own career as well. Even during my interview with Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang (article coming soon), there were occasions where we were discussing the complexities of women's positions in society and the workplace and were able to fine-tune his messaging on communicating the positive impacts of UBI for women. This was certainly not because he was inadequately prepared or ignorant of these particular points. Rather, it was because he, having lived his entire life as a man, has very simply not lived through the experience of being a woman. This added perspective, coupled with his desire to learn from and include the thoughts and voices of women within the policy building process, is a large part of what will lead to lasting changes that benefit men and women alike.

Within that same arena, it is also an imperative for women not to unintentionally exclude men in the process of building a more equal society for women. This is particularly true of sectors where the share of women is historically low, such as startups and STEM fields. "Surround yourself with good people," Spio says, "especially those who have successfully travelled the path you're embarking on, irrespective of gender…Women tend to rely on other women only; that's a big mistake, broaden your circles." While women, quite obviously, benefit from the changing lots of women in the economic sphere, it is important to remember that men benefit from this change as well.

As Spio mentions, women are able to open up new markets, ideas, and businesses that currently go untapped because the present landscape lacks the diversity of experience to see those opportunities in the first place. Another way to put it: the likelihood of a man coming up with a highly effective bra design alone is low because he would lack the knowledge of the unique issues that women face when using that particular product. That said, the global bra market is predicted to reach $30.4 billion by the end of 2025, a number to heed regardless of your gender. The impacts that women can make in non-women-specific markets is considerably larger and something we should all be striving for. Of course, because we want to help our fellow humans, but also because failing to do so is the equivalent of slamming the door in opportunity's face.

Trans debate rages around the world, pitting LGBT+ community against itself - Japan Today

Posted: 16 Mar 2019 11:56 PM PDT

As British politicians wrestle with Brexit, Britain's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community - like others around the world - is grappling with a potential split of its own.

Can the coalition of allies, which traces its roots back to the early days of gay liberation in the 1960s, survive in its current form?

Caught in the crossfire between trans activists and feminists over the nature of what it is to be a woman, calls for a break-up of the longstanding LGBT+ alliance back to its constituent elements are starting to emerge.

At the heart of the increasingly toxic debate is whether trans rights are compatible with those of other women, particularly in terms of access to single-sex spaces, such as rape crisis centers or women's refuges.

On one side, trans campaigners say that transgender women are women and deserve equal access. On the other, some feminists and lesbians disagree, making the distinction between natal and trans women.

The result has been a progressively poisonous row that threatens to tear the LGBT+ community apart.

Last year, a group called Get the L Out staged a protest against what they saw as "lesbian erasure" – or lesbians being written out of history – at the beginning of London's annual Pride march.

"The only way to fight lesbian erasure within 'LGBT+' groups is to... create an autonomous and strong lesbian community and build alliances with all feminists willing to fight against male domination," a spokeswoman said in an email.

Yet, while the debate has raged with particular ferocity in Britain, other countries have also seen tempers flare.

In New Zealand, a lesbian group said on Wednesday that it had been banned from Wellington Pride on Saturday for "not being inclusive enough" of trans people.

On Twitter, Charlie Montague, spokeswoman for the Lesbian Rights Alliance Aotearoa, said the group would now organise "a lesbian-only event of our own".

Wellington Pride has not replied to a request for comment.

And in the United States, lesbian activist Julia Beck was last year voted off the Baltimore city LGBTQ commission after clashes with fellow commissioners over trans issues.


At an event organised by campaign group LBQWomen in the Victorian Gothic splendour of one of the British parliament's grand state rooms, Baroness Barker, LGBT spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat party in the House of Lords, is adamant.

The community must remain together, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"It matters, because we (LGBT+ people) are all outsiders and(on our own) we can be picked off by the forces that are against us," Barker said.

However, she added a caveat.

"I stand alongside my gay brothers, as I always have done, but there comes a time when lesbians and bisexual women have to be able to come to the fore," she said, referring to one of the aims of the LBQWomen event.

But for many, the trans debate is at the heart of the matter.

The tension partly stems from ignorance on the part of the LGB community about the issues faced by trans people, said Michelle Ross, founder of cliniQ, which provides sexual health services to the trans community and others.

"There's a lack of awareness and there always has been in the LGB community," she said. "Things have changed for the better... but there is some kickback around not seeing trans people as part of the LGBTQI community."

In recent months, the debate has spilled out of social media and onto the letters pages of Britain's national newspapers, drawing in characters as disparate as Star Trek actor George Takei and former British cabinet minister Lord Mandelson.

In October, a group of high-powered campaigners took aim at Britain's leading LGBT+ charity, Stonewall, which they saw as stifling debate over the issue.

Last month, chief executive Ruth Hunt said she would step down in August after a tenure marked by debates that she said have "not always been a comfortable conversation" as transgender rights took greater prominence.

"We will only make progress if we stand together," said Paul Twocock, Stonewall's executive director of campaigns and strategy.

"We are a diverse community made up of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, who come from different faiths, who live in different neighbourhoods and do different jobs.

"But we are united in our desire to create a world where we can be free to be ourselves."

The debate has polarised society at large, and pitted former allies within the LGBT+ movement against one another, said singer and actor Mzz Kimberley.

"Unfortunately some parts of the LGBT+ community are not coming together," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"There are many different communities under the LGBT+ umbrella, but you also have (the) radical feminist community who are very against the trans community. You even have parts of the gay community who are against the trans community.

"It's quite sad as we fought so hard to establish where we are at the moment and there are many who are starting to fight with each other."


On Thursday, more than 70 prominent gay men, including YouTube star Riyadh Khalaf and Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, backed an open letter from Britain's equalities tsar Anthony Watson to rally together and support the trans community.

"One of the things I find flabbergasting is that we wouldn't enjoy the rights we have today without trans activists," Watson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, citing the involvement of campaigners at the start of gay liberation in the late 1960s.

"For gay men to sit silent on the sidelines and say it is not our battle is tremendously arrogant.

"And guess what?" Watson added. "(The bigots) are coming for our rights next."

Sport has become the latest frontline.

Tennis star Martina Navratilova and British Olympic medalist swimmer Sharron Davies both spoke out recently in support of more research into what they saw as competitive advantages for trans women.

Others have countered that the testosterone-blocking effects of hormone therapy undergone during transition would negate any advantage.

For many, the debate is reminiscent of how gay men and lesbians were portrayed by the media in the 1970s and '80s when headlines warned of a "gay plague" at the advent of HIV/AIDS and similar concerns were raised about bathrooms and changing rooms.

"Rights can easily slip backwards," said Watson.

But the question many are now asking is what next for the LGBT+ community? Calls for a break-up may remain on the fringes, but concerns for its future are growing.

For the Lib Dems' Barker, the current tensions are signs that the 50-year-old gay and trans community needs to address concerns from both sides.

"We should start to create spaces in which – safely – the LGBT+ community can have arguments and differences," she said."And we need to do it so we're not giving ground to those who are doing us down.

"We're a community that is 50 years old and we are maturing. We should be big enough to do this."

© Thomson Reuters Foundation

24 Ideas for Your Next Small Business in 2019 -

Posted: 02 Jan 2019 12:00 AM PST

More than 20.5 million Americans own their own businesses.

Another 53 million work freelance full or part time in various fields ranging from computer programming and rideshare driving to, yes, journalism and writing. (Hello!)

Most of the rest of us want to. The OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) found that 58% of women and 69% of men in America agree with the statement "I would rather take a risk and build my own business than work for someone else." The numbers say that you, dear reader, would like to be your own boss.

So what holds us back? A lot of things, really. Money for one. Starting a new business can take quite a bit of startup capital that few people have just lying around. The bigger issue, though, is often ideas.

Thousands of talented people want to write a novel, if only they could think of a story. Many more would start a band if they had a catchy tune. Then there are the millions of entrepreneurs who would open their own business if they could come up with the right thing to do.

To help with that process, here are some ideas for small businesses to get you thinking.

Food Service

The restaurant business is tough. While not as bad as people say, it's still a competitive industry. On the other hand, if you know what you're doing this can be a business model that people love, that fits into any community and that faces almost no competition online.

1. Fast Casual Restaurant

Picture a Five Guys or a Chipotle (CMG) . These are the modern version of old-fashioned diner dives, a long counter where someone serves up good food fast. They're a step up from fast food in quality, a step down from full service in price and overwhelmingly popular. Better still, this model requires less overhead since you can run it with fewer staff and a smaller footprint.

2. Bar and Coffee Shop

Hugely popular and astonishingly rare, the bar/coffee shop hybrid answers three questions: What does a coffee shop serve at night? What does a bar serve in the day? And why is it that the same people seem to go to both places… Serve espresso at 10 a.m., craft beer at 10 p.m. and keep that marginally employed writer (hello again!) spending money all day.

3. Bakery

Everyone loves a treat and these days bakeries have an edge in that market. Social media positively melts down for psychedelic frosting or a cookie that looks like it will bite you back. With creativity and a novel approach, a bakery has the ability to stand out in a market that many other dessert shops lack.

4. Coffee Shop

A regular coffee shop can work. In fact a popular one can succeed brilliantly, but beware. This is a low-margin business that depends on moving a positively enormous amount of product. What's more, your regular customers will be money losers. What, you think a business actually profits off someone camping on his laptop for five hours after paying $2 for a dark roast?

Professional Services

The big advantage to a professional services firm is that you can open one cheaply. You're essentially selling your own skill and expertise. Especially today, you may need little more than a web presence and a business card to get started. These are just a very small number of the ways you can do it.

5. Contractor

Can you fix things or build things? You may want to look at construction and contract work. Maybe you'll go into carpentry, helping people remodel their houses. Maybe you know how to fix plumbing or rewire electrical systems. Whatever you can do it's almost certainly in high demand.

6. Accounting or Law Firm

Obviously this is a niche field. Unless you currently are a CPA or a JD there's not a whole lot of value in hanging your own shingle, and you can probably expect an unpleasant visit from the real thing if you do. However, for white collar professionals there's a lot of value in launching your own offices. Just have some runway capital on hand. It will probably take a while to succeed.

7. Consulting

This one is a little more nebulous… The question is, ultimately, what are you good at? Do you currently work in PR? Maybe it's time to offer those services on your own. Do you do human resource work? You sound like a terrific career coach. Have you spent years in a bank? It might be time to offer financial planning. Whatever you're good at, someone out there could use a consultation on the subject.

8. Graphic Designer

Graphic design combines two fields that rarely overlap: Technical competence and a creative eye. If you can look at a blank page and not only see what belongs there but also know how to make it happen, there are literally thousands of companies out there who will need your services. From designing logos to helping a business create its entire look, graphic design is a strong and growing field.


Media is an upside-down place to work at the moment. While many business models struggle to survive, others have emerged and made individual bloggers and YouTube stars millionaires. You probably won't be the next Ariana Huffington or PewDiePie, but there's a lot of room here to make a living.

9. Freelance Journalist

Outlets have begun relying on freelancers for an increasing amount of coverage, so there's lots of opportunity to work as a reporter and be your own boss. Just beware… Work can vanish in an instant and you cover all your own costs. Not a problem when writing from your desk, but it can make it hard (if not at times impossible) to get out in the world and do the shoe-leather work of real reporting.

10. Freelance Writing and Editing

Firms need people to write PR copy for them. Other companies need someone to polish up their website, edit books, ghostwrite articles or help clean up white papers. Today every business in every business model produces many, many times more written material than they used to. Someone has to ensure that it all sounds crisp, clean and professional.

11. Blogger

Here's the secret that most people don't realize about being a blogger: It's a business. Shocking, right? Yes, to succeed as a blogger you have to write catchy, interesting articles. You also have to understand SEO, audience engagement, bounce rates, monetization, affiliation and partnership deals and much more. This is a marketing and technology business, and if you've got a flair for that you might have the makings of a successful blogger.

12. Social Media Consultant

This overlaps with consulting, but then again most things do. Most businesses know two things about social media: First, it's incredibly important. Second, almost no one really understands it. If you're one of the few people who do get the marketplace of ideas on Twitter (TWTR) , Instagram, Facebook (FB) and more, you might have a thriving business opportunity.


The best thing about starting a business in technology is that it's generally location-independent. You can solicit business from all around the world and may well get to work with clients who can afford to pay top rates for outstanding work. This is a high-skill field that's in high demand. If you've got the chops, consider opening a business as a…

13. Web Developer

Bespoke web development, like graphic design, combines technical savvy with an eye for aesthetics. This isn't a field to enter without experience, but if you're a sharp, talented coder who can lay down a clean user interface against a sharp color scheme, it might be time to start seeing which local companies look like they still use Geocities.

14. Freelance Coder

Many companies rely on outside contractors to help finish big projects, especially during crunch time. Like all freelance businesses this is generally a boom-and-bust model. You might spend three weeks looking for work then spend a month barely looking up from your computer screen. If you can make the income stream work, though, this is a lucrative field with many opportunities.

15. App Development

The best part of app development is passive income. Every product you create will sit out there on the iPhone and Android stores making money for you long after you stop putting a single hour into it. Of course, that depends on getting those products in the public eye. So brush up on your marketing skills, come up with a few ideas and enter the world of independent development.

16. Security Consulting

From white hat hackers to security analysts, the market for security consulting right now is enormous. You can even build a thriving business just speaking to company employees, helping IT fix its PEBCAK errors. This is a high-skill field that demands an outstanding resume, but if you've got the right background it can be incredibly lucrative.


Modern retail is at once a challenge and an opportunity. Online stores have stolen customers from brick and mortar at a devastating rate, it's true. But their biggest victims are the large-footprint businesses like Sears (SHLDQ) , Borders and Best Buy (BBY) . In their place has opened up plenty of room for the small, highly-curated shop that provides an experience as well as a sale.

17. Bookstore

Don't click away yet! Bookstores may struggle, but that doesn't mean they can't succeed. If you can build an identity and experience into your store, with a well-chosen selection that makes life easier than clicking around through Amazon's (AMZN) vastness, you may well have a healthy business model on your hands. If that doesn't convince you, think about this: Americans love to read, and two-thirds of them would rather do it on paper than pixels.

18. Clothing

Clothing has an edge over most other retail spaces these days, because try before you buy matters so much more in their space. You can't slip on a blouse or see just how those jeans fit while clicking around a website. Especially in the far more lucrative women's market this is a critical feature. If you've got an eye for fashion and can build a selection that will get people in the door, this business model comes with a built-in killer app: The changing room.

19. Food Shop

People need to eat. People who want to eat rarely want to wait two or three days for shipping. Get where we're coming from? Whether you open a niche shop that caters to specific interests or sell general goods to the millions of Americans who live more than a mile from the nearest grocery store, a well-placed small grocer can succeed and thrive.

20. Online Retailer

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. One of the best things about online retail is using breadth of audience to make up for niche demand. Whether you want to sell artisan products, like hand-carved jewelry, or creative works like your very own board game, chances are someone out there wants it. With a storefront you'd be out of luck unless that person coincidentally happens to live a few miles away. Online, though, your customers can find you from anywhere.


These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning and launching your own business. The truth is, for almost any skill set there's someone out there who needs it and will pay good money in exchange. The best way to come up with a business idea is to sit down and think about what you can do, what you love to do and what people need. Here are a last few ideas to help with the creative process.

21. Bespoke Travel Planning

Yes, the internet put a stake through the heart of traditional travel agents. Good riddance. That was a business model built entirely on having access to booking systems and little else. Enter the bespoke travel planner. You help your clients have the best possible trip for their money, booking them into hotels, tours and restaurants they never would have found otherwise. You don't sell access, you sell expertise. That's a winning formula.

22. Storage

You know what isn't sexy? Storage. You know what makes an absolute fortune these days? Storage. Whether renting lockers to individuals or bulk warehouse space to companies, secured storage is a booming business model nationwide. You'll need more startup capital than most businesses because this requires lots of square footage, but if you're looking for a business that people need… Well, look no further.

23. Diet and Fitness

Some people look great in tailored shirts and yoga pants. The rest of us would like to look like those people. If you know how to build a diet and exercise plan for losing weight and looking great, we've got some news that's hardly new: You're sitting on a product that lots of people want. Get out there and sell it.

24. Landscaping

Perhaps you simply love working with your hands. You have a talent for helping things grow and shudder at the thought of sitting behind a desk all day. Now consider that there are far, far more people who own homes and lawns than who share your gifts. Yep, right now there are millions of Americans looking at desiccated dirt and mournful trees wondering, "how do I fix this?" Consider that your bat signal.

5 female-founded venture capital funds to know - and the popular women-led startups they've invested in - Business Insider India

Posted: 15 Mar 2019 09:50 AM PDT

Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

prose function of beauty comparison 3Function of Beauty/InstagramFunction of Beauty, personalized haircare startup, is backed by SoGal Ventures.
  • More and more women are becoming entrepreneurs, but the venture capital world is still overwhelmingly dominated by men.
  • Just about 9% of VC investors are women, all of whom are working hard to diversify the startup world and bring great ideas to the forefront.
  • To celebrate Women's History Month, we're taking a look at five inspiring female-led VC funds and the women-led startups they're backing like Billie, Parachute, Reformation, and more.

The faces of entrepreneurship are changing. In 2017, there were 114% more women-owned businesses than 20 years prior. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of black-women-led startups doubled. Data from Lance Surety Bonds found that immigrants are almost twice as likely to start their own business as are their US-born counterparts.

All of this makes sense. Diversity matters in the workplace, and not just for the reasons we already know, like having a greater pool of lived experiences to build from. According to McKinsey, businesses with diverse workforces typically perform better financially, too.

Still, the venture capital (VC) world is overwhelmingly male-dominated. According to a recent study by Axios, women account for just about 9% of investors across U.S. venture capital firms. And, while female entrepreneurship is growing at a rapid rate, women are still not getting as much VC funding as their male counterparts. A BCG study found that while enterprises founded by women were given about half the investment as those founded by men, the female-founded companies generated double the amount of revenue than their male equivalents.

The gender investment gap is real, but it's clear that female entrepreneurs are still succeeding despite this. The good news - for investors and entrepreneurs, and alike - is there are plenty of women out there making it their job to get great female-founded businesses the funding they deserve. March is Women's History Month, so it feels particularly fitting to celebrate the intelligent women making waves in the VC industry.

Keep reading to learn more about five female-founded VC firms and the cool startups they've invested in:

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