Last week we hosted an extremely well-attended webinar on “Empowering Female Founders“. Our panel of experts – four local female startup leaders was moderated by Senior Director Scouting & Partnerships P&G Ventures, Betsy Bluestone – hit on highly relevant topics including the challenge of securing pilots with large enterprises. Panelists included Kirsten Moorefield, Co-Founder of Cloverleaf, Tia Rochelle, Founder & CEO of JahniSpot Concierge, Anne Chambers, Founder & CEO of 17 Ways, and Rachel Angel, Founder & CEO of Peerro.
Watch the 10-minute recap below!
Hurdles & Barriers
- Access to capital remains the biggest hurdle – a pervasive point across all the panelists. Tia Rochelle of JahniSpot Concierge also highlighted resource management and work-life balance.
- Rachel Angel of Peerro noted that large organizations are not always empowered to work with, or run a pilot, with startups. She suggested that large companies be more intentional with startups. For example, Rachel felt there could be more overlap between the “year of raising money” and “the year of acquiring customers.”
- Betsy Bluestone of P&G Ventures noted that this can be hard because corporate processes are designed to reduce risk; that said, P&G has spent a lot of time reducing the barriers to getting to a pilot; it’s very important to get fresh thinking into the system.
- Kirsten Moorefield of Cloverleaf underscored the challenge of working with procurement organizations. Much of their early success came via either smaller contracts or working around procurement officers in large organizations.
- Anne Chambers highlighted the importance of focusing on the WHO, not the HOW. “Who is the person who can help to solve this problem.” She also noted the value of the “incredible tips” on emerging platforms just as Clubhouse. She noted, “It’s a great time to start a business in Cincinnati.”
Managing the Covid Pivot
- “We had to re-imagine the problem again,” said Rachel Angel. “It’s all about identifying the issues, having the ability to control your emotions as a founder, because there are huge ups and downs.”
- Kirsten of Cloverleaf noted that their earlier investment in “remote work” paid huge dividends, going from 1% to 100%. “We had to change our plans. Recognize that there are new opportunities created through this. it’s hard, you have to shift but startups can. You have to be agile.”
- Tia Rochelle felt enormous pain as 80-85% of her model was anchored to live interaction. “Our services and offerings completely flipped. We had to pivot to find the need.”
“Covid has been an incredible time for a woman to start a business. You have Shopify, Squarespace, all of those tools that make it really easy to put something up on the web. You can do a test of Facebook ads for $15 to see if you have a viable business idea.” – Kirstin Moorefield
- Anne Chambers – SheEO: “Because they are so committed to the ask and offer and they are so generous with this; it’s something all of us can learn; in 5 years, hopefully, we don’t have to say female founders anymore; it’s going to be an abundance, all kinds of great things happening.
- Rachel Angel – Women’s Business National Council: Great opportunity to network; in 5 years, sees us making strides; wants to see some of the bias reduced for women when we step into a room whether it’s funding or selling products or whatever the case may be.
- Kirstin Moorefield – LinkedIn: “You can contact anybody; go there and spend 10 minutes per day searching and find three people and reach out to them; we determine the future of female founders; there are so many opportunities; it’s hard but persistence and taking a leap to start a business or helping a woman”.
- Tia Rochelle – The Sister Accord: founder by the Sonya Jackson Miles, a former P&G leader; they empower women and girls, founded on principles of love and respect and in life.
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