Wednesday, March 6, 2019

small business ideas for women

small business ideas for women

Stronger Together: How Female Entrepreneurs Thrive in Kenyan Slums - Forbes

Posted: 06 Mar 2019 01:58 PM PST

This article is part of a series: Spotlight on Female Entrepreneurs in Africa, for International Women's Day. #BalanceforBetter

Female entrepreneurship rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. One in four adult woman is engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity in the region. The statistics however may mask the challenges that female entrepreneurs face, especially those coming from low income backgrounds living in slums.

In the Kenyan capital city, Nairobi, close to 60% of the city's population (2.5 million people) live in slums. While slums are hotbed for entrepreneurial activities as people innovate out of necessity, there are a myriad of challenges facing female slum-dwellers in entrepreneurship. Lack of access to finance is a big challenge, as 51% of women have account access compared to 75% of men in Kenya. Women also spend more time than men on unpaid care responsibilities, especially as 60% of Kenyan women are likely to be single mothers before they reach 45.

Most women in sub-Saharan Africa gain access to finance through mobile phones. Transactions through mobile money platforms form close to half of Kenya's GDP. (Photo credit: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)Getty

Social entrepreneurs like Allie Amoroso, Co-Founder of ROSE, and her Co-Founder Patrick Juma, are working to enable female entrepreneurs thrive in the most challenging of circumstances. From their experiences in Mathare slums, there are three key ingredients enabling female entrepreneurs living in extreme poverty to thrive.

The ROSE Women Entrepreneurs programs provide community savings programs, micro-loans, business skills training, and life skills coaching. Since 2016 it has trained over 220 women in 12 small business groups.ROSE

The first, and most important ingredient, is community. ROSE, which stands for Restoration of Sisters in the Extreme, believes that entrepreneurship support needs to go beyond supporting the individual entrepreneur, but enabling the whole community to work together. "We are a sisterhood, a community learning and growing together for the benefit of all women. In our governance structure, we have the ROSE Counsel, elected by the women we work with. The Counsel determines our vision, goals and projects." Since 2016, they have worked with over 200 women in 12 small business groups, and all groups grew their group savings from zero to around 800 dollars in two years. The savings then are used towards paying school fees for their children, as well as investing in new projects started within their community, with micro-loans between $50 to $250.

The second ingredient is education. "We have found that many of our women need education on basic business principles in order to present their business ideas in a viable and investment worthy way," said Allie Amoroso. Yet, different from other entrepreneurship support programs, ROSE ensures that the curriculum is decided by the community themselves, and that the women who have been trained go on to become trainers for other women. "Joanne and Lilian, who joined us in 2016, are both members of our ROSE Counsel now and mentor upcoming ROSE Women leaders. Empowerment of ROSE women is most successful when innovation comes from the inside out and the woman running the show is someone who was once in the audiences' shoes."

75% of Kenya's populations are under 30 years old. By empowering these women entrepreneurs, their children also get educated.ROSE

The final ingredient is innovative tools. One of the challenges for women living in poverty is balancing their care burden with business needs. Teaming up with innovative startups from Allie's contacts at Silicon Valley, ROSE has recently started an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot, Rosie. "Rosie is being piloted with ROSE as a tool for tracking cash flows and profit/loss on a weekly basis for ROSE business groups. We then realised that the women also need a way to find resources that can help them with their daily lives, such as 'where do I take my child to the hospital'." Rosie is still being piloted but Allie has found that the women entrepreneurs are asking for more interaction time with Rosie.

Allie draws on her experience and contacts gained from leading the Oracle Startup Ecosystem, to bring innovative tools to ROSE's programs.

There is a famous African saying, " When you want to go fast, go alone; when you want to go far, go together. " The story of ROSE and the ROSE women is one that challenges our preconceived notions about entrepreneurship – it is more about the community than the individual. Entrepreneurship should be about constantly enabling others and giving back.

If you are interested to learn more about ROSE's work, please visit 

NYC teams up with Goldman Sachs to offer women entrepreneurs more affordable lines of credit - Yahoo Finance

Posted: 06 Mar 2019 07:54 AM PST

People pass by the "Fearless Girl" statue in front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

New York City announced on Wednesday that it is teaming up with Goldman Sachs and a few other companies to make it easier for female entrepreneurs to tap affordable lines of credit to grow their businesses.

In a release, the city announced a new program called WE Credit that will help 250 women entrepreneurs access lines of credit, which will average $50,000 at below-market interest rates. The city hopes WE Credit will help close the startup gender gap, and become a model for others to follow.

The program is part of a public-private partnership with Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program, which will provide $5 million to finance lines of credit. Separately, Squarespace, an all-in-one website building platform, and and the New York City Economic Development Corporation will invest $1 million for a loan loss reserve to cover potential defaults, while credit solutions provider Fundation will offer the platform for the women to access and manage the lines of credit.

The annual percentage rates will be up to 12%, well below current market rates.

"It is widely known that in the decade since the financial crisis, the economic recovery has not benefitted all communities and all types of business owners and employees equally," Margaret Anadu, managing director and head of Goldman's Urban Investment Group, told Yahoo Finance in an interview.

"Women, even though they are starting small businesses at a significant rate, fundamentally don't get the same amount of capital that their male counterparts do," she added.

According to research by the city, 70% of New York-based women entrepreneurs cited access to capital as their primary challenge. Additionally, half of the women entrepreneurs surveyed by NYC said they only needed less than $10,000 when starting their company.

And because they aren't getting access to funding, many of those women end up funding most of their business on their own — often relying on personal credit cards and payday lenders that come with prohibitively high interest rates.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said the new initiative was necessary, in light of the fact that "the private sector hasn't been able to move the needle.

Glen, herself a former Goldman Sachs executive, added that "when something is not right about a way the market is functioning, it is absolutely appropriate for the government to intervene."

WE Credit bills itself as a first of its kind product that provides working capital at below-market rates, in order to support women who wouldn't have access to the money otherwise.

"The city can use its platform as a bully pulpit to raise awareness of the issues, but equally important is to put a thumb on the scale and put skin in the game," Glen said, adding that WE Credit may help create a playbook for others to follow.

The access to credit is another data point that's part of a more significant challenge when it comes to female entrepreneurship.

Studies suggest that less than 2% of startup capital goes to female founders and only 1 percent to minorities — a figure Glen called "appalling." She criticized figures that show women-led businesses are only getting such a slim cut of all venture capital funding.

"That's crazy," she said. "We know many women have as good ideas as their male counterparts."

Glen also chided a system that appears to make it harder for a female small business owner to get a small business loan than a male-run business.

"There are endless examples of places where if you were to look at it completely gender-blind and look at the business or the pitches or metrics or revenue, the women should be doing better than they are doing when raising capital," she told Yahoo Finance.

"That means something is wrong with the system. Simple as that. We should just call it out," Glen added.

One of the goals of the WE Credit is to create a network effect of elevating other female entrepreneurs.

"When women entrepreneurs get capital and tailored business education that helps them better execute on their business plans, they tend to pay it forward. They tend to mentor other women and do business with other women," Goldman's Anadu said.

It's especially important, since women are still underrepresented in corporate America's top echelons.

"Today in corporate America and in the financial services industry, women do not have a proportionate share of leadership and decision-making roles. When women do not have a meaningful say in which people, businesses, and fund managers get capital, the result is not enough capital ends up in the hands of women," Anadu said.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

GC4W hosts Entrepreneurship Ball in Manhattan, New York - Thrive Global

Posted: 06 Mar 2019 10:20 AM PST

New York, NY March 1st 2019, the Global Connection for Women foundation rang in another year of an amazing charity event held in trendy downtown Manhattan, NY at the Harvard Club. Folks that were in attendance described the night as an enchanted evening complete with stories about the journey of women pursuing their dreams full steam ahead.

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 01: Guests attend the GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball at The Harvard Club on March 1, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball)

The Founder & CEO of Global Connection for Women foundation Lilian Ajayi-Ore described the inception of her entrepreneurial journey. Stating, "As a young African girl, growing up in Africa, in an environment where injustice, inequality, oppression were predominant in an autocratic place. Many of whom were impacted by this long-suffering were women and children. I knew at that young age of 10 years old that I knew very little about how to drive any sort of change in that environment. Now fast forward 20 plus years later. Though some advances have been recognized for advancing the rights of women and girls globally — more actions are still required. My purpose and mission in creating the Global Connection for Women Foundation @GC4Women is to connect, educate, and create new pathways for women and girls to succeed globally."

GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball Host Committee: Summer YL (left), Francesca Vuillemin, Alisa Rusanoff, Laura Day Webb, Lilian Ajayi-Ore and Lana Pozhidaeva (right) Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball

"The Entrepreneurship Ball, marked a very special moment in time, as we gathered to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of female entrepreneurs." #GC4W

GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball worthy gathering celebrated and recognized the outstanding accomplishments of prominent women leaders in business, journalism, fashion, music & literature. Money raised for this gala benefits the GC4W Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund, which ensures that female entrepreneurs get the financial support and encouragement they need to bring their business ideas to scale and improve their economic status for their families and communities.

GC4W showcased women shattering glass ceilings through entrepreneurship.

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 01: Founder and CEO of GC4W, Lilian Ajayi-Ore and husband Alexander "Lexx" Ore, an Award-Winning Film Maker, and Vice President in Financial Services. Photo by Cindy Ord

The star-studded event welcomed big-name guest including Rebecca Minkoff, and television entertainment segment Anchor Ojinka Obiekwe and the beautiful Jenna Blaha, Fashion and Tech Editor, ELLE Magazine.

Ojinika Obiekwe Entertainment Anchor and Lifestyle correspondent at WPIX-TV speaking during the Global Connection for Women foundation Entrepreneurship Ball. Photo by Cindy Ord
Bonita Thompson the GC4W Entrepreneurship Moderator. Photo by Cindy Ord

"I'm inspired by the global connection for women foundation, an organization dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs in New York City and around the world. When women are given this type of support, it benefits all of us"

Bonita Thompson, Business Leader of the Year Honoree.
GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball moderator, New York Times Bestselling Author Bonita Thompson (L) and Dr. Jim Kim, CEO, World Bank,  Photo by Cindy Ord
Awards on display during the GC4W Entrepreneurship Ball at The Harvard Club Photo by Cindy Ord

A prominent list of GC4W Award honorees and guests and included:

  • Celebrity Designer / Business Innovator/ Founder of Rebecca Minkoff; 
  • Bonita Thompson, New York Times Bestselling Author / Executive Coach / Dr. Marshall Goldsmith's Top 100 Coaches
  • Alison Wyatt, Angel Investor & Co-Founder, GirlBoss
  • Towanna Burrous, President & Founder, CoachDiversityInstitute
  • Sutian Dong, Partner, Female Founders Fund
  • Kathleen Griffith, Founder & CEO, Grayce & Co.; 
  • Sarah LaFleur, Founder & CEO, MM.LaFleur;
  •  Janett Liriano, Chief Executive Officer, Loomia/ Forbes 30 Under 30
  • Lana Pozhidaeva, Founder, Wetalks
  • Heather Hartnett, CEO & Founding Partner, Human Ventures
  • Maggie Arvedlund, Managing Partner, Turning Rock Partners; Including Startup of the Year: Venture University.  Other noted guests include 
  • Eric Schurenberg, President and Editor in Chief, Inc. Magazine
  • Jenna Blaha, Fashion and Tech Editor, ELLE Magazine
  • Princess Mathilda Mélusine Ruspoli.

The evening concluded with an electrifying performance from recording artist and UN Youth Ambassador, Tennille Amor, who debuted her new single EQUALS. Amor was featured by Sean "Diddy" Combs as one of Billboard and DeLeon's Top 100 artist to watch.

To learn more about how you can be a part of this organization and support Global Connections for Women foundation mission. Help GC4W meet their funding goals. GC4W Committee asks for your financial support in helping them reach their goal by making a small donation today. With your financial support, they can further GC4W commitment in supporting other entrepreneurs in their endeavors.

The proceeds will benefit the GC4W Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund, which ensures that female entrepreneurs get the financial support and encouragement they need to bring their business ideas to the global marketplace.

Women in Senegal left to weather climate change alone - DW (English)

Posted: 06 Mar 2019 12:55 AM PST

Almata Diagne and four of her six children have taken cover from the sun beneath a makeshift tent on the beach in Ndiebene Gandiol, western Senegal.

The oldest daughter, Magat, carries her 4-month-old sister in a shawl on her back while she helps her mother put the fish they've just bought from a middleman into a bucket. Later, Almata will take them to market in the larger town of Saint-Louis.

Read more:  Senegal's vanishing villages

The average of roughly 10 euros ($11) a day she makes from selling the fish supplements what her husband Babacar Jo is able to send from his salary in Spain. He left for Europe in 2006, when Almata was married to someone else. After they divorced, she and Babacar were able to wed during one of his return visits to Gandiol, but even as man and wife, they rarely see each other. He spends most of the year in Spain, supporting not only his two wives and children but also his parents from afar.

Senegal Fishing migration and climate change in Africa (Noel Rojo)

Fishermen from the coastline villages in Senegal have struggled to maintain their livelihoods in the face of overfishing and climate change. Like Almata's husband, Babacar, many have left their villages to seek work elsewhere.

"We receive about 30,000 West African CFA Francs (€46) from him every two to three months," says Almata, adding that it's hard for him to earn enough money for everybody. She knows she cannot fully rely on him.

Read more: Raising money from catfish in Ghana

"Part of the Senegalese tradition is to support family members," says sociologist Oumoul Khaïry Coulibaly-Tandian, who has co-authored a study on the impacts of environmental change on migration in Senegal. "You have to give money to your mother or sister, even if they're not in need, just to respect tradition. The bonds are stronger with your own family than with your wife."

She told DW that women in rural areas understand they have to work, and "can't just be waiting for the money from their husbands."

Empty waters

Babacar is one of many men who left the small village of Ndiébène Gandiol, where the shoreline is now dotted with abandoned homes that were destroyed by flooding or erosion caused by rising sea levels.

Arona Fall, who works in the nearby national park, has seen the impact that climate change has had on the village. 

"Nowadays, if you dig a well, it's hard to get fresh water. Before, this [part of the village] was a river, but now the river and the ocean have become one because of the rising sea levels."

Before he left, Babacar's livelihood, like that of most villagers, was fishing. Unused boats on the beaches serve as symbols of a defeated industry. Locals say there aren't enough fish anymore.

Read more: Business and migration to shape Merkel's trip to West Africa 

Some blame it on rising temperatures that have driven stocks to cooler waters in the north, while others attribute it to large foreign commercial boats that fish, sometimes illegally, in local waters.

Fish has long been the staple protein in Senegal. The collapse of fish stocks in recent years, reportedly by as much as80 percent in some areas, has led to increased food insecurity. Away from the water, the desert is encroaching further into the village, leaving those who live off the land with little to grow beyond onions and carrots.

Climate change and farming in Senegal. (Noel Rojo)

In the villages around Gandiol, people living off agriculture harvest onions, one of the few things that can still grow in the arid soil. The desert is increasingly encroaching on previously fertile land.

"I want to come back but I don't know when. As there are no fish in the ocean, I'd have nothing to do here," Mamadou Diakhate told DW while visiting his wife and two children back home. Like Babacar, he was once a fisherman here, but now lives in Spain, which struck a 2006 deal with Senegal, allowing migrants to work legally. Many other men who saw no option but to leave, went to different African countries. 

Precious few choices

Thiaroye sur le Mer, a suburban area on the outskirts of the capital Dakar, is another place where the fishing industry has collapsed.

"Our community depends on fishing but we cannot compete with big, well-equipped foreign boats," says Yayi Bayam Diouf, a woman with experience of the dangers migrants face when they leave Senegal. Her son died on a boat trying to reach Europe.

Migration impacts women and family members in Senegal (Noel Rojo)

Yaym Diouf established an organisation to provide training and microloans for women affected by the migration of family members. The women learn new skills such as making soap or preserved fruit.

After his death, she established the Collective of Women for the Fight Against Illegal Migration in Senegal, which provides training and microloans for women affected adversely by the migration of family members. Those who take part can gain different skills, such as making soap or preserved fruit, thereby generating an income for their families.

As well as working with women, Yayi Bayam Diouf is also trying to convince potential migrants to stay in their home country, by talking to them about what life is like for Senegalese migrants in Europe.

"I tell them the truth. Often as many as eight share one room, they have no documents, they do not speak the language," she says.

Read more: Madagascar: No more fish? We'll farm seaweed instead

She points out the alternatives to leaving: "With the money you need to get to Europe, you could establish a small business here in Senegal."

Such alternatives can work for some, but the fact remains that more than two-thirds of the Senegalese population still depends on agriculture and fishing, both of which are affected by rising temperatures and erratic weather patterns.

It's not a challenge restricted to Senegal, but rather part of a wider global trend. Recent findings by
researchers at the University of British Columbia outline how climate change could impact global fishing, predicting that millions around the world could lose their jobs and food source, and be forced to migrate if global temperatures exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius rise of the Paris climate agreement.

Women collect clams in Senegal (Noel Rojo)

Women in the surrounding villages collect clams to sell. Today clams can be found further in land than they did in the past because of rising sea levels.

Senegal's next generation

Sometimes Almata also joins women from local villages as they set off on small boats to look for clams, which rising sea levels have brought closer inland. She can sell them for around 3 euros a kilo.

Read more: Women custodians of biodiversity hold key to food security

Before she goes to the market, Almata takes a few minutes to rest on a step in front of her house. The midday heat has become unbearable. Magat, who dropped out of school a few years ago to take care of the household and the younger children while their mother works, has gone to fetch water.

Despite the uncertainty of the future, Almata hopes the next generation will still find opportunities. "The work I do is very hard, I'm often very tired. I don't want my kids to work like this, I want them to go to school and be successful," says Almata as she lifts a bucket of 20 kilos of fish onto her head.

Best Business Idea, Opportunity Quest competition winners awarded - Ironcountytoday

Posted: 22 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

The results of the 13th Annual Best Business Idea and Opportunity Quest Competitions are in and the winners have been determined! The event was sponsored by the SUU Small Business Development Center, Regional Services and School of Business, Southwest Technical College, Staheli West, Leavitt Group, Cedar City Chamber of Commerce, TouchMD, Hughes and Associates, Kohler & Eyre, Cedar City Economic Development,, Construction Monitor, and the Women's Business Center. Many imaginative and promising business ideas were submitted for judging. Eleven finalists were chosen to present their business idea to the panel of judges. Based upon those presentations the winners were chosen and are listed in the table below (Note: an additional $2,000 in prize money was personally donated by Steve Lindsley for the Opportunity Quest competition).

As can be seen, the winners' ideas covered a wide range of business possibilities. All represent very practical and innovative business ideas, with very bright prospects for the future. Many of the winning ideas were submitted by SUU students. 

The mutual purpose of each of the sponsors of this competition is to support the development of small businesses in the Tri-County area (Iron, Beaver and Garfield Counties), and to promote healthy economic development with more jobs and an increased tax revenue base. With the integration of community resources and the talent of our own successful entrepreneurs, we can help more and more small companies get started and successfully grow. 

The mission of the SUU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is improving people's lives through small business success. The SBDC is located within the SUU Business Resource Center (BRC), which opened its doors in April of 2009 as a "one-stop-shop" business resource center and incubator to provide necessary support and counseling services for smaller businesses. The SUU Business Resource Center and partners are located at 510 West 800 South in Cedar City. The SBDC and BRC provide counseling and support services, as well as help with financing alternatives (including micro loan programs), business partnering facilitation, marketing, government contracting assistance and more. 

Craig Isom, Executive Director of the SUU Business Resource Center and Small Business Development Center said, "It is very rewarding to see the response to the competition challenge. There's lots of talent in our community and many untapped ideas and opportunities. We're happy to see so many great ideas and to have the level of interest we have in this kind of event. What's most rewarding is seeing so many different resources come together (university, public and private) for a very important and common cause. We extend our thanks to all who participated. Now we just have to keep the ball rolling and support the launch of some new, successful businesses, and build upon this start to increased community partnership."

Best Business Idea Competition Prize Winners: From left to right: Tyler Stillman-SUU Director of Entrepreneurship, Jami Riley-SUU Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship, R. Bryce Bennett, Merrell Heaton, Benjamin Bryant, Jenna Duncan, Cassidy Wilson, Mary Pearson-SUU School of Business Dean, Craig Isom-SUU SBDC Director.*Not pictured: Leisa Jaime.
Opportunity Quest Competition Prize Winners: From left to right: Jami Riley-SUU Assistant Director of Entrepreneurship, Tyler Stillman-SUU Director of Entrepreneurship, Benjamin Bryant, Jenna Duncan, Cassidy Wilson, Mary Pearson-SUU School of Business Dean, Craig Isom-SUU SBDC Director.

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