That, right there, is the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION, am I right, ladies? It’s a symptom of what’s fundamentally broken in today’s financial services world. And it’s time lenders and the like woke up – and KEPT up – with the extraordinary change occurring in the business world.
It’s ALSO time we rally for transformation and take steps to shake up this system that does nothing to empower women entrepreneurs, on the contrary, it almost actively holds us back!
And frankly, I – like many of you I’m sure – am fed up!! I want to change this – and change it now.
In this two-part series, we’re going to explore what the heck is going on and WHY, and look at what YOU, as female entrepreneurs, can do to compete.
Female Led Business and Reaching the Million Dollar Mark
It’s not a secret that women run businesses rarely hit the elusive million-dollar mark. A paltry two percent bask in those “seven figures,” while male entrepreneurs are three and a half times more likely to reach that goal.
Factor in that every day there are more and more women launching businesses – as of 2017, 20 percent of the small to medium-sized businesses in Canada were owned by women.
I guarantee that figure is much higher today.
And this is the 💩 that keeps me up at night! There are so many of us going into business world – WHY are we not reaching the same level of financial success? I’ll tell you why. Because as women, getting financial backing is like pulling teeth.
But the Woman Entrepreneurship Fund!
Look, when your own government recognizes there’s a problem, there’s a problem. In the hopes of adding $150 billion to the GDP by 2026, and doubling the number of majority women-owned businesses by 2025, the Government of Canada allocated $20 million to the Women Entrepreneurship Fund in 2018.
Well, guess what? Three hundred applications got approval for funding. THAT’S NOT A LOT OF MONEY FOLKS! I actually did the math! Hypothetically, if everyone got the same amount, these 300 women-led businesses walked away with $66,666! Isn’t that the number of the beast? 😈 😈 😈! LOL!
Seriously though, it’s a good effort and a start, but women-led businesses need wayyyy more financial backing than that to even dream of hitting the million-dollar mark.
What the Canadian government understood though, and props for this, is that when you empower women and allow them to have access to economic activity, you do better for the whole country. But, when I speak to my clients, it’s clear there’s a huge disconnect between the funding available and the types of businesses that people want to run.
All Businesses Great and Small
Maybe you are at the helm of a multi-million-dollar company and want to expand. Maybe you’ve launched a micro-business and need a few thousand to really get off the ground! Either way, funding and the overall financial landscape remains (and yes, I’m generalizing as there are always outliers) stuck in a time-warp.
Because we are in an age where virtual companies, assets that are intellectual property – not bricks and mortar – what you create, the systems that you build, the new innovations you come up with – this is the new normal!
Yet one of my clients was just telling me the other day about how screwed up it is for women entrepreneurs needing funding.
She said, “Sure, you see ads saying ‘Oh, women entrepreneurs, apply here [for funding].’ And then you go in there and it’s like $5,000. 🧐 🧐 🧐 That’s one 10th of my monthly burn rate!! You know? So, there’s that sort of belief women entrepreneurs are only in the starter stage of the business, which is not at all true…[speaking of] intellectual property – this problem is part of my journey, I’ve invested in creating systems and building the people and the efficiency models – which are intangible…and they’re worth a whole lot! But when I go in there, the bank is like, all right, little girl come back when you have a property worth a million bucks!”
Seriously though, the perception of female run businesses is so skewed toward some archaic “Ok, little lady, you need a few thousand? We’ll see what we can do!” aesthetic that it’s painful.
Are Canadian Lenders Stuck in Conservative-Land??
Damn right they are! And sadly, this seems to be a real “Canadian” thing. I have many examples of business owners and women led businesses not getting the funding in Canada and moving south – one lady in particular just raised seven million dollars in funding in the States.
Her business could have employed countless numbers of people in Canada. She herself is Canadian. But she couldn’t get the funding because, like my client above, their business owns nothing tangible. It is 100 percent a systems and software business.
And where does that leave us, as a country? Suffering not only job-losses, but brain-drain. We have so many bright, ambitious entrepreneurs here, and Canadian lenders should want to keep them here. Make sure they’re growing the economy and hiring people in Canada and not losing out to the States.
BUT those same lenders are just not ready yet to really value intellectual property assets the same way that banking institutions in the U.S.A. do.
Ok, that’s my rant. And since my expertise falls squarely in the sweet-spot of helping women-led SMBs dot the Is and cross the Ts, ensuring their businesses are in tip-top shape from a legal perspective, I’m going to walk you through some things you can do to better your odds of landing that financial backing you sorely need to hit the seven-figures club!
I ALSO want to hear your stories – what have you been through when it comes to securing funding? Nightmares? Have any horror stories to share? Maybe it all went tickity-boo for you – in which case, share your secrets because women helping women is a mood for 2020 and beyond.