Insights for Women on Raising Money From the Right Investors
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The JOBS Act Title III provisions allowing the crowdfunding of investments from ordinary investors finally went into effect in May, four years after the bipartisan bill was signed into law by President Obama in April 2012.
The Security and Exchange Commission issued “Regulation Crowdfunding” last fall with an effective date of May 16, 2016. Those wishing to take advantage of the new law are required to issue their securities through a FINRA-registered broker dealer (investment bank) or via a registered “portal.”
Attorney Jenny Kassan helps social entrepreneurs, especially women, raise money under not only Regulation CF but other regulations that allow for similar offering structures, some that are easier to use.
Jenny’s clients include Lynn Johnson and Jessica Nowlan, entrepreneurs who each have an interest in raising money for her small business. Lynn is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spotlight:Girls. Jessica is the Founder of Create Shoppe.
Together, with help from Jenny, they offered up six tips for raising money for a small business, which I am sharing below.
Get Clear: “Get clear on your values, goals, and projections for the exact kind of business you want to lead,” Lynn says.
Identify Ideal: “Identify your ideal investor so that you don’t waste time chasing after opportunities that don’t match your values,” she adds.
Ignore VC: “Venture Capital, although that is mostly what you hear about, isn’t necessarily the right way to get capital for every business, especially for smaller businesses and in particular for low income women,” Jessica says.
Believe in Yourself: “Believe in what you are doing and believe in yourself. Seek the advice and guidance of trusted mentors that understand the diversity of funding options available and also your personal circumstances,” Jessica adds.
Mine Community: “Mine your existing community for potential investors – friends, family, customers, supporters, etc. – through a crowdfunding model,” Lynn notes.
Network, Network, Network: “You have to believe in what you are doing and yourself, and you need to get other people on board. When you don’t have the same networks as people with access, you have to build them yourself,” Jessica concludes.
On Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 3:00 Eastern, Jenny, Lynn and Jessica will join me for a live discussion about strategies to help women raise money for their small businesses from the right investors. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about Spotlight:Girls:
Spotlight:Girls is a benefit corporation that celebrates and activates girls and women through multi-media learning experiences, products, and events. We are the producers of Go Girls! Camp, a summer camp where young girls learn and practice social/emotional skills through the arts.
More about Create Shoppe:
The mission of Create Shoppe is to build a better world through creativity, human connection, and the creation of gift products that are designed by our customers and created by artisan crafters. Create Shoppe is a platform where people can design and customize handmade gifts. Artisan Crafters make the products, gift wrap them and send them off with a handwritten note to our customers friends and families.
Lynn Johnson, courtesy of Matt Mimiaga
Lynn Johnson is a social entrepreneur, girl advocate, and co-founder/CEO of Spotlight:Girls, the Oakland, CA-based company that produces Go Girls! Camp. Go Girls! Camp is an innovative and highly popular summer camp where girls learn and practice social/emotional skills through the arts.
Founded in 2008 when 17 girls came together to make a play in a church basement in Oakland, CA, Go Girls! has grown into a movement to be reckoned with serving hundreds of girls each summer in five different locations.
Go Girls! received international recognition when it was chosen as one of 15 finalists from over 600 entries from all over the world in Ashoka Changemakers’ “Activating Empathy” competition and has been featured on the George Lucas’ Foundation’s Edutopia website.
A graduate of Northwestern University and a former actor, director, and teaching artist, Lynn has worked with people of all ages from all over the country using theater as a tool for personal transformation and community development. Lynn works regularly as a speaker, facilitator, and workshop leader. She lives in Oakland, CA with her wife and daughter.
Jessica Nowlan, courtesy of Shannon Cunningham
Jessica Nowlan, started Create Shoppe in 2015. She was inspired to build a company that helped people tap into their own creativity and give gifts that inspire, have meaning and help create a better world. Jessica didn’t have it easy growing up. At the age of 13 she was already living on her on the streets of San Francisco’s tenderloin. With limited education and support, she struggled to find her way as a young adult, domestic violence survivor, and as a single mother with two kids. It was ultimately through the relationships she built that she found the support and love that helped her find her way. With a desire to show gratitude to the people in her life, Jessica began making handmade and inspirational gifts as a way to say thank you to her friends and family. “I soon realized, that while I could go out and buy gifts, putting my own creativity and thoughtfulness into what I am making with the other person in mind is so much more meaningful. It makes me feel good, and it definitely makes the gift recipient feel special. Isn’t that the point of gift giving in the first place?”
Jenny has over two decades of experience as an attorney and advisor for mission-driven enterprises. Jenny serves her clients in the areas of business start-up, entity structuring to preserve mission, enterprise finance, securities regulation, investment crowdfunding, nonprofit law, and cooperatives. As a capital raising coach and securities attorney, Jenny has helped her clients raise millions of dollars and raised several hundred thousand for her own business.
Jenny earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and a masters degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.
She was recently appointed to the Securities and Exchange Commission Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies.
Prior to beginning her work in securities and finance, Jenny worked for eleven years at a nonprofit community development corporation in Oakland, where she served as staff attorney and managed community economic development projects including the formation and management of several social ventures designed to employ and create business ownership opportunities for low-income community residents.
Jenny is the President of Community Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic and social development of communities. She also co-founded the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a nonprofit that provides legal information to support sustainable economies.
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