WHO RUN THE WORLD?

Author:Smith, Shauna
 
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Utah women have the grit it takes to start, fund, and grow successful businesses. Here's how they're doing it.

The entrepreneurial spirit of Utah extends as far back as the state itself. Traditionally, the charge was led by men, but over the last ten years, there's been a notable increase in the amount of women-led businesses in Utah, and across the country. Here are just a few reasons why Utah women are uniquely qualified to lead.

FUNDING IS IN OUR BLOOD

The same do-whatever-it-takes attitude required to raise a large family helps Utah women find ways to do more with less, growing their businesses from kitchen table ideas into full-fledged enterprises.

However, the journey to success isn't without obstacles. As more women take their business ideas from side-hustle to full-time, securing funding can be difficult. In fact, of the businesses seeking venture capitalist backing, women-founded companies still lag behind businesses started by men.

So, what are Utah women doing to achieve their goals in the face of ever-increasing odds? They're getting resourceful. By turning to alternative channels for funding--such as social media and crowdfunding sites--women are finding the funding they need in smaller amounts from larger numbers of investors.

And in many cases, using social media or going the crowdfunding route connects business directly to their customers, removing the need to develop robust go-to-market strategies. Businesses who gain support early on from a social network may also find themselves well-positioned for direct-to-consumer sales, maximizing their funds while allowing for lower margins and a greater investment back into their business.

One of the reasons crowdfunding and social media platforms are better suited to raising funds for women-owned businesses is due to the connection women have with their networks. Kiva. com, for example, has an entire section of their site dedicated to women who are raising capital for their businesses. Business endeavors like a $500 loan for a chicken farmer in Uganda or a $100,000 loan for improved access to toilets in Kenya are putting their futures in the hands of angel investors around the world.

What's unique about Kiva is that the funds are distributed as a loan. Borrowers pay that money back to their lenders and lenders can then use that repayment to fund other loans. The reciprocity of this lending cycle increases the number of female-led business initiatives that receive loans.

Carmi Soul...

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