Geri Stengel

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Women Entrepreneurship

The Rise Of Women Tech Entrepreneurs In The South

Atlanta is setting a new standard for women in tech, offering them opportunities not found elsewhere. Women in Georgia, as elsewhere are less likely to start tech companies than men … but Atlanta is changing that.

Allyson Eman, Executive Director of Venture Atlanta, the premier tech conference in the Southeast, says women are seizing the opportunity to start tech companies in Atlanta’s key industries—fintech, health IT and IT security—as well as in emerging industries, such as marketing automation.

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Women-Owned Businesses: A Tale of Two Types Of Entrepreneurs

Just the facts, ma’am

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of opportunity, it was the age of necessity. It was the epoch of unicorns (start-up companies valued at a billion dollars or more), it was the epoch of struggling sole proprietors. That is the story revealed by 2012 U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Small Business Owners for women.

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How To Make The Connections That Make Things Happen

Research shows that entrepreneurs with larger and more diverse networks grow their businesses bigger. Yet, networking can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re an introvert.

Leave it to an introvert, Dorie Clark, to write a practical, actionable e-book, Stand Out Networking: A Simple and Authentic Way to Meet People on Your Own Terms, that anyone can follow. It maps out how to make meaningful connections that can lead to an investment, a major new customer or partnership, media coverage, a publishing contract, a speaking opportunity, and much more.

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An Agile Mindset: Not Just For the Leader

What sets highly successful leaders apart from the rest? Agile learning does, and entrepreneurs are better at it than corporate executives, according to The Korn Ferry Institute. They should know. The Institute researches leadership and has found that the ability to navigate through novel situations—and to learn from experience without becoming rigid—is a key leadership skill set.

Agile learners are better able to work through complex problems drive innovation and grow a bottom line. The three traits characterize of an agile learner:

  • Tolerance of ambiguity: Comfort with vague or contradictory information and the ability to make decisions when things are uncertain.
  • Intellectual curiosity: The extent to which a person is likely to tackle problems in a novel way, see patterns in complex information, and pursue deep understanding.
  • Emotional intelligence: The ability to influence, collaborate, and communicate effectively with others and use interpersonal awareness in a way that advances collective goals.

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Agile Mindset Sets Entrepreneurs Apart From C-Suite Execs

The agile mindset of entrepreneurs and their ability to learn and pivot quickly gives them a leadership edge over corporate executives. According to The Korn Ferry Institute, there are three main attributes associated with agile learning: tolerance of ambiguity, intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence, each of which is a key predictor of leadership success. They’ve found that agile learners are better able to work through complex problems, drive innovation and grow a company’s bottom line. These skills are critical whether a company is creating new products and services or responding to disruption. And while entrepreneurs have these qualities in spades, executives often struggle to develop them or leverage their power in a corporate climate.

“Think Pac-Man (the popular video game series of the ‘80s), in which the player controls Pac-Man through a maze,” said Amy Millman, president of Springboard Enterprise, an accelerator for women-led businesses seeking equity financing. “When entrepreneurs hit a wall, they act like a skilled Pac-Man player. They figure out another way. Dead ends don’t happen.”

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6 Lessons For Rocking A TED Talk Or Any Speech

TED and its independently run TEDx events are carefully curated, concise talks on a cornucopia of topics. I love to find a topic that I didn’t know I was interested in, then watch the talk online.

Presenting a TED Talk can bring you attention and even business, but it is no easy feat to be chosen as a speaker. Don’t expect your PR person to land you a gig. Professional speakers need not apply either, though some do land an appearance. It’s not about being polished. It’s about saying something extraordinary, said Aaron Sylvan organizer of TEDxFultonStreet and an event producer. Speakers at TED talks are the world’s most inspired thinkers and their topics have not been seen elsewhere. The ideas presented  change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

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Women Entrepreneurs Get Their Game On With Angel Investors

The media has been awash with stories about the decreasing percentage of women decision-makers in venture capital (VC) firms, which certainly deserves attention. But what has gone relatively unnoticed is the dramatic rise of the number of women angels over the last 10 years. This means both women entrepreneurs seeking angel funding and women-led, angel-backed companies.

Women are swinging for the fences. An astonishing 36% of entrepreneurs seeking angel financing are women—an increase of 83% from the previous year, according to the Center for Venture Research.

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Disrupting Costly Access To Eldercare Leads To Business Opportunity

For more than 25 years, Ginalisa Monterroso worked for nursing homes, maximizing the amount of money they got paid for their services. Hospitals and  nursing homes get paid more if customers pay directly for services than if Medicaid pays. Monterroso’s job was to exhaust a customer’s personal money before using Medicaid benefits. The truth is that people, even if they have money in the bank and a home, may be entitled to Medicaid benefits.

Monterroso grew so frustrated watching people deplete their life savings when another option was available that she set up a consulting practice, Medicaid Advisory Group.which helps people get the benefits that they are entitled to.

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How the VC Industry Is Becoming Women-Friendly

The venture capital (VC) sector took a well-deserved pounding in 2014 for its gender imbalance at the partner level. The proportion of women partners in U.S. venture capital firms was small in 1999 (10%) and downright miniscule in 2014 (6%), according to Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital, a report by Babson College.

The impact on women cannot be overstated. Venture capital firms with female partners are two-and-a-half times more likely to invest in companies with women on the management team (34% vs. 13%).

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The Nuts And Bolts Of Scaling A Company

When you think nuts and bolts, you probably don’t think innovation. Not so for Jewel Burks, co-founder and CEO of Partpic. She managed customer service for a parts distributor and dealt with the calls from frustrated customers who had been sent the wrong part or couldn’t identify the part they needed because the product name or number was partially rubbed off.

Again and again, customers asked if they could send a photo of the part so the distributor could match it. The last straw was when Burks’ grandfather, a farmer in Alabama, had to delay harvest because a part for his tractor broke, and together they had trouble identifying and replacing it. There had to be a better way, she thought.

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