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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Women Entrepreneurs May Lead Recovery

Below are excertps from and article in USA today by Rhonda Abrams.  This article is interesting and important for the future of business in Rogers City.  women can lead the way!

"First, it is electric. Next, it's equipped with a state-of-the-art digital dashboard that charges your battery remotely and plots routes for the least battery consumption. It's made in America. And you can personalize the bike with all kinds of features.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of this cutting-edge product is that this company has a woman president, is financed by women investors, and is made in a manufacturing plant owned by a woman.
Why surprising? Here's a sad truth in 2012: Women entrepreneurs still have a harder time raising money for high-growth ventures than men.
That situation is changing, thanks to women like Lauren Flanagan of Belle Capital of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Flanagan represents a relatively new breed of angel investors, experienced businesswomen investing in startups founded by women.
"Women have over 51% of the wealth in the U.S., but we do less than 10% of early stage investing," Flanagan said. "We have women with talent and money sitting on the sideline.
"If we could get some of that money invested, we'd change the game," she said. "We could break the cycle of lack of access to capital for women entrepreneurs."
To understand financing for high-growth companies, it helps to understand the two types of professional investors and lack of women in these ranks:
Venture capitalists raise money from others, typically investing very large sums of money — $2 million to $5 million and more in early rounds. About 11% of venture capitalists are women, according to the National Venture Capital Association, and estimates are that only 4 percent to 9% of companies receiving venture-capital financing have even one woman on the founding team.
Angel investors put their own money into promising startups. About 13% of angels are women, and about 13 percent of angel-backed companies have women founders.
Keep in mind that nearly half of all businesses in the United States have a female owner: 29% owned by women alone, 17% equally owned with a man. So you see what a small percentage have access to high-growth capital.
Increasingly, women are starting their own angel-investor groups to make it easier for women entrepreneurs with great ideas to succeed.
"We want to solve big problems and, of course, we want to make money," Flanagan said. "But we're doing this to pay back, too. In the past, wealthy women were philanthropists, they gave money away. We're trying to teach women to be more comfortable with investing."
Last year, she started Belle Capital with 44 women investors. One of its first investments is Current Motor Co. of Ann Arbor, Mich., makers of that shiny, new electric scooter.
Belle Capital has brought far more than money to this promising startup.
"We leverage our financial capital with our human capital," Flanagan said. "One of our partners is Andra Rush, she's the founder of two companies that combined have over a billion dollars of revenue."
Rush founded Rush Trucking, which later did a joint venture to launch Dakkota Integrated Systems, which manages the manufacturing process for automotive interiors. Dakkota, based in Holt, Mich., is building the bike, creating good jobs here in the United States.
"Marie Klopf, an investor in Belle, is a supply-chain expert. She's now president of Current Motor. Nancy Phillipart — she used to run GM global accessories (and is) another investor in Belle — is advising on personalization strategy," Flanagan said. "And I brought a relationship with Dell. They've provided technical assistance and helped us get to market six months faster."
Flanagan points out it's not only women her venture-capital firm brings to the table.
"We brought in Bob Lutz, former vice chairman of General Motors and father of the Chevy Volt."
Belle Capital, www.bellevc.com, and Flanagan are part of a nationwide movement to increase women's access to venture financing. Other places to check:
Astia, www.astia.org
Golden Seeds, www.goldenseeds.com
Springboard Enterprises, www.springboardenterprises.org
Women 2.0, www.women2.org
Women's Capital Connection of Kansas City, www.onekcforwomen.com
And soon, look for a Current Motor electric scooter on a street near you.
Rhonda Abrams is president of The Planning Shop and publisher of books for entrepreneurs. Her previous book is the 5th edition ofThe Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies. Register for Rhonda's free newsletter atwww.PlanningShop.comand "like" The Planning Shop onFacebookfor updates. See an index of Abrams' columns. Twitter: twitter.com/RhondaAbrams. Facebook: www.facebook.com/RhondaAbramsSmallBusiness."
                                           Copyright Rhonda Abrams 2012.
I hope this article inspires women in Rogers City to start their own business.  These women can be successful and help lead Rogers City into a bright future.

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