Did you know that only 4 percent of the total dollar value of all small business loans distributed in Colorado goes to women entrepreneurs? Yet, women-led businesses are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship in the US.
Impact Finance Center is committed to changing this by directing resources to the women-led businesses that need them.
We are setting the stage for women to thrive, spearheading three initiatives to create support for social ventures that are led by and benefit women.
One of our proudest accomplishments in Colorado was the creation of the Colorado Women’s Impact Giving Circle in partnership with The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Together, we harnessed the power and tradition of philanthropic giving circles and community lending circles that, structured as a donor advised fund, provided a low-risk, low-barrier to entry environment for would-be impact investors that wanted to directly expand funding opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
Members collectively determined how to deploy their pooled resources to support social ventures (i.e. projects, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, cooperatives, etc.) led by and benefiting women, and received hands-on investment education from our team. Ultimately, we trained and activated 37 women to become investors supporting six of the 117 sourced social ventures. As a group, the giving circle invested nearly $140 million in social ventures operating in the community!
To complement this success, we launched the Colorado Women’s Investor Club to catalyze $100M in investments to CO women social ventures over the next three years. Investor Clubs serve as a marketplace to directly connect investors with projects they care about. There are 40 social ventures, needing more than $45 million in total capital, listed in the CO Women’s Investor Club catalog. We’re incredibly grateful for all the success we’ve had in Colorado, and we’re looking for more opportunities to serve our home state.
Finally, to develop a clear picture of how many women’s foundations and funds are using financial innovation and impact investing for their own assets, the Wallace Global Fund recently awarded IFC a grant to conduct a national Women’s Impact Investing Landscape Scan. With women and millennials predicted to inherit $30T by 2030, this data will help ensure that the upcoming wealth transfer results in as great an impact as possible.
We are boldly embarking on a journey to survey 100+ women’s foundations and funds to collect data and establish a baseline measure of those that are using financial innovation and impact investing for their own assets. The Landscape Scan will identify the gender lens investing services and tools the organizations use themselves and offer their members, as well as determine their overall demand for impact investing tools.
We hope that this effort will help inform funders where they should invest additional resources.
Are you interested in our women’s initiatives? Look out for updates on the outcomes of these projects in future newsletters and blog posts.