I am a mogul.

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    Jean Case
    CEO of the Case Foundation

    Top Reply

    Good afternoon everyone. I’m Jean Case and I am so pleased to join you today on #AskAMogulAnything. I’m at SXSW and have had a phenomenal past few days watching attendees turn interest into action and learning from dynamic fearless social changemakers. I’m inspired by the many questions that came in from each of you over these past few days so let’s get started! Great question! There is power in networks. By building up networks and geographic hubs outside of Silicon Valley and across economic, gender and color lines, we can expand the opportunity for all entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market. Unfortunately, networks have long favored Ivy league education white men. And they still do. In recent years only 10% of venture capital has gone to companies with a female founder. If you flip that, that means that 90% has gone to men! And only 1% has gone to companies with an African American founder. To learn more about the need for a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem in American and why I see this as an economic opportunity, you might enjoy viewing my recent TED talk: It turns out that the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs are women. In fact, women-owned firms are growing at a rate 1.5 times faster than the national average. And African American-owned firms, they’re growing at a rate of 34% compared to a 6% decline in non-minority firms. So they’re definitely out there and they are outperforming and there are a number of organizations and investors out there who are supporting and funding dynamic female founder of color. I encourage you to look to and use them as on ramps to networks, mentor and capital. While I do not know your specific company or location, I would urge you to check out groups like PowerMoves, whose mission is to increase the number of venture-backed minority-founded companies. Today only 13 African American women in the U.S. have received venture capital exceeding $1 million and four of them are PowerMoves alumni. There is a secret sauce there! Also look to ecosystem builders like Circular Board, an online accelerator for women entrepreneurs and CODE2040, working to create pathways to success in the innovation economy for African Americans and Latinos/as. And lastly, look at digitalundivided - led by Kathryn Finney - an organization committed to the success of Black and Latina women founders. These networks are designed to provide the connections and resources that entrepreneurs need to be successful and can be effective on-ramps into investment circles and later-stage accelerators that are producing many of today’s most successful startups. In addition to ecosystem builders, more and more investors are making specific commitments to support women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color. They see how it’s good for business and are setting aside specific funds for these entrepreneurs. Kapor Capital, the 500 Shades Fund out of 500 Startups and the Focus Fund out of JumpStart Inc are great investors to watch, connect with and learn from in this space. And in the crowdfunding space such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, women and people of color receive disproportionately more funding, so keep that in mind as a possible other channel. Whatever the “stream,” commit yourself to making a list of who you need to know and where you need to be to ensure you are in a good position to advance your interests. Before you know it, you may just find a community that will help to lift you up. And, when you succeed, I urge you to open your network to others so we can all be intentional about growing the more diverse networks we need to impact the entrepreneurial ecosystem in our country.

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