Governor Phil Scott and iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform for women-led startups and small businesses, announced the launch of iFundWomen Vermont, a statewide initiative to drive funding to early-stage entrepreneurs.
Women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development. According to recent data collected by Change the Story, the number of women-owned businesses in Vermont is growing, and between 2012-2017, they grew at twice the rate of male-owned businesses to more than 20,000 without employees. If just 25 percent of these women-owned businesses without employees hired one worker, it would result in more than 5,000 new jobs for Vermont.
Access to capital is only one of the obstacles women face while building and growing their businesses. In 2017, female founders got just two percent of all venture capital dollars. Some find creative funding solutions from friends, family, grants and small business loans. But these business owners need more access to capital to help them successfully grow, create jobs and further strengthen Vermont’s economy.
“iFundWomen Vermont will give our female entrepreneurs another source of capital and help close the funding gap, supporting these entrepreneurs, companies, and our economy,” said Governor Scott. “We need to do more to help small businesses grow and supporting women-owned businesses is an important area of focus.”
Applicants chosen to participate in the cohort will have the option to start their crowdfunding campaigns immediately and will have access to one-on-one business and crowdfunding coaching, as well as video production services to help them pitch their concepts and tell their stories. Campaigns that are fully funded by March 31, 2019 will be eligible to participate in the first-ever iFundWomen Vermont Pitch Competition in April, showcasing the top companies in the cohort and giving them the opportunity to raise even more startup capital.
“Vermont has tens of thousands of women-led companies who are under-banked. It’s difficult for early-stage startups to get approved for loans or to raise venture capital, so up until now, there have been limited options for women to get the funding needed to prove their business concepts out. iFundWomen Vermont changes that instantly,” said Karen Cahn, Founder and CEO of iFundWomen. “The fact that Governor Scott jumped on board immediately to launch this cohort says a ton about his commitment to the women entrepreneurs in Vermont.”
“Communities thrive when people invest in each other.” said Louisa Schibli, Co-Founder of Milk Money Vermont, an equity crowdfunding platform connecting Vermont businesses to local capital, and an iFundWomen Vermont Partner. “I’m excited there’s another way for our female entrepreneurs to access that early stage ‘neighborly’ capital to grow their companies while creating more employment opportunities for all Vermonters.”
All women-led businesses in Vermont can apply here for the inaugural cohort, sponsored in part by Milk Money, Vermont Works and The Vermont Women’s Fund. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
iFundWomen is the leading fundraising ecosystem for women-led startups and small businesses. iFundWomen’s mission is to increase access to capital for female entrepreneurs, empowering women to start and grow better businesses. iFundWomen drives funding to startups and small businesses through a flexible crowdfunding platform with a pay-it-forward model, expert startup coaching, professional video production, and a private community for our entrepreneurs. iFundWomen is changing the business of how businesses launch.
To watch the video of the press conference, click here.