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Succeeding at International Business for Female Entrepreneurs

until equality is truly reached, we can perhaps stop stereotyping women and men and be using terms like “female entrepreneurs” or “women entrepreneurs.”




Many women are starting their own businesses, and certain cities (Tel Aviv included) have become internationally-known business hubs that are especially favorable toward female entrepreneurs. Here are a few names and examples of successful female-run businesses, as well as some tools and strategies that can help entrepreneurs expand their business on a global scale.
Sources of Funding

 There are many methods of business fundraising that can be advantageous for women, including women-owned venture capital foundations, grants specifically designed for women, and business loans designed for female-fronted startups. However, it’s best to apply for funding sources you won’t be required to pay back: for example, small business grants and other business resources specifically designed to help women get ahead in business. Be sure to also try venture capital investment sources and crowdsourcing techniques before dipping into personal savings or applying for loans. Loans should always be a last resort.

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Venture capital funding for female founders doesn’t have to be completely elusive, either. It can help to appeal to women who are venture capitalist-level investors, or consider other investment prospects such as incubators, accelerators, and angel investors. Consider having a man onboard as a co-applicant or board member. You may find it easier to obtain venture capital funding if your idea is portrayed as a group effort — even if it is not.

For example, the co-founders of Witchsy — a new website made for artists, by artists, with the goal of fostering an online community as well as a platform for selling artists’ wares — decided to make up an imaginary cofounder named “Keith Mann” to help validate their investment proposals when corresponding with male venture capitalists. Fast Company has since published a follow-up story to explain a few reasons why the original article went viral. The need to publish an article explaining why this story was so compelling for so many is illustrative in and of itself.


Savvy Technology, Ideation and C-Suite Representation

Intentionally creating a business model, products, and services that appeal to a wide audience is a wise approach to take. Look at Meirav Oren, CEO and co-founder of Versatile Natures. Because the tech, construction, and engineering industries are so flush with cash, along with investors, it was smart of Oren to partner with others in related industries in order to present a united, gender-neutral front to investors.

This doesn’t mean entrepreneurs’ business models should cater only to men. Rather, there are a variety of consumer models for both small and large-scale businesses. Studies show that companies with a female executive are 64 percent more valuable at first funding than all-male businesses. Moreover, women offer a different perspective and set of experiences than men: for example, a company that caters to female entrepreneurs with children as Campus TLV for Moms has done is not only smart but innovative as well.

Cloud computing and automated accounting and payroll apps help small startup business owners keep all their proverbial ducks in a row without making you feel like you need five extra hands. For example, to transfer money across borders, try TransferWise or another online tool that helps with borderless payroll, financial transactions, and accounting. Once you are able to operate on an automated level, your productivity level and international business and contracting possibilities will also increase.


The New Frontier

We can do better, as a global society of business people and entrepreneurs, to be more inclusive toward women and other historically underrepresented groups. Ed Zimmerman, a venture capital lawyer, refuses to attend male-only events. We need more men like Zimmerman willing to stand up to the establishment and demand equality as a basic prerequisite to sitting at the table.

There have been numerous inspiring examples of women rising up in business, as of late: Karin Kloosterman, founder of Flux, a software company based out of Tel Aviv; GlingMedia, a self-serving pay-per-call platform; and Women Lead Ventures (WMN), a co-working space based in Tel Aviv as well.

Natalie Cooper-Berthe encourages women to show up and own their own place at the table — whether they were initially invited or not. Though this tactic may seem pushy, it is actually strikingly similar to the way men are expected to behave in business. Whether through using a gender-neutral email signature or starting a whole new company, women must assert themselves as strongly as men.

Though there may be obstacles, the least we can do is try. Men also need to help us change the status quo, but until equality is truly reached, we can perhaps stop stereotyping women and men and using terms like “female entrepreneurs” or “women entrepreneurs.” There are entrepreneurs, and there are personality traits, and there is business acumen. All the rest should be determined by business models, concepts, and plans — no more, no less.

The future of entrepreneurship is out there: are we ready?





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