By Paul Feely The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "I Fund Women"is a crowfunding platform specifically designed to highlight and help female entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.
State and local officials gathered in Manchester Thursday -- the eve of International Women's Day 2019 -- to celebrate the launch of a new statewide initiative to drive funding to early-stage women-led businesses.
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, the Center for Women and Enterprise, the New Hampshire Women's Foundation, and iFundWomen joined forces at The Bookery on Elm Street join to launch iFundWomen New Hampshire, a crowdfunding experience dedicated to providing New Hampshire women entrepreneurs with the capital, coaching, creative and connections needed to start and grow businesses.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for women entrepreneurs across our state," said Craig. "By establishing a system that helps female business owners gain access to capital, we can make our New Hampshire business landscape more representative of those who live here."
According to organizers, there are currently 12.3 million female entrepreneurs in the United States, with women launching new businesses at 4.8 times the national average.
Organizers say despite these numbers, funding options for female entrepreneurs remain limited, with women only receiving 2.2 percent of the venture capital dollars allocated.
"It is critical that female founders of New Hampshire have access to a crowdfunding platform that provides them with a low-risk, efficient path to funding, allowing them to prove demand for their products or services before they invest in supply, all without the risk of going into debt funding their startups. Together we are heeding the call, and bringing iFundWomen New Hampshire to life," said Karen Cahn, Founder and CEO of iFundWomen. "When women empower women, the whole world benefits, and the fact that Nancy Pearson, director of the Center for Women and Enterprise in New Hampshire, saw this opportunity and immediately connected with Mayor Craig to launch this cohort speaks volumes about their commitment to the women entrepreneurs in New Hampshire."
The Center for Women and Enterprise has worked with more than 46,000 Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont entrepreneurs since 1995. CWE also operates the Veterans Business Outreach Center of New England (VBOC of NE) that focuses on assisting veterans, active duty service members and their families with starting and growing their business.
"Funding is one of the biggest hurdles for women entrepreneurs, and I've been keeping an eye on the success stories on the iFundWomen crowdfunding platform, which was created by women for women," said Pearson.
"New Hampshire women entrepreneurs are typically right on, or ahead of, national trends, so 2019 is the perfect time to jointly launch this initiative in the Granite State."
Cahn encouraged all women-led businesses that are launching, growing, pivoting, or marketing their product or service in New Hampshire to sign up for the inaugural cohort. Entrepreneurs who sign up will have the option to start their crowdfunding campaigns immediately or receive coaching first from New Hampshire entrepreneur and iFundWomen Certified Crowdfunding coach Kristin Hardwick.
"I'm thrilled to help bring iFundWomen to New Hampshire because it's an amazing service that I wished I had when starting out. Being able to serve and support this community is an exciting honor," said Hardwick.
The iFundWomen New Hampshire cohort is made possible in part by the New Hampshire Women's Foundation, a statewide foundation investing in opportunity and equality for women and girls in New Hampshire.
"The Women's Foundation is proud to support the Center for Women and Enterprise and iFundWomen New Hampshire because we believe providing tools, resources and funding to women business owners will positively impact women, families, and communities across the Granite State. We are excited to see this statewide initiative grow," says Tanna Clews, CEO.
For more information visit https://beta.ifundwomen.com/new-hampshire.