LoudounPreneur entrepreneurial newsletter
 Information for the Innovative, Enterprising and Brave
June 2015

Why You Need a Goat Whisperer

You could argue that rounding up angel investors is like herding goats. Investors and goats both have a point of view, and both require a strategy for successful interaction. Fortunately, Loudoun startups now have Vanessa Jozwiak, formerly known as a "goat whisperer," working on developing robust funding sources for Loudoun entrepreneurs.


Jozwiak is Economic Development's new Manager of Small Business and Entrepreneurism. She can help you find resources to start or grow your business. That means introducing you to people who can help you write a business plan, find office space, analyze funding sources, navigate the permit process, or anything else outlined in our small business quick-start checklist.


"The county government is connected to a wide range of nonprofit organizations, and we all work together to help small businesses be successful," she explains.


Jozwiak's top priority right now is cultivating Loudoun's investor community. "We want to develop a network of angel investors, who typically provide early-stage seed funding of $25,000 to $100,000. They usually want to offer advice and support to startups, and are generally more comfortable with risk."


"We want our network to include venture capitalists, who typically invest to expand a business that already has a customer base and is earning some amount of revenue. VCs invest at the $500,000-plus level, and are often interested in a seat on the company's board of directors," Jozwiak says. A robust startup community needs both types of funders.


Although funding is the primary concern of businesses getting off the ground, it's not the only factor that drives a startup's success. Jozwiak explains how Loudoun resources like the One Million Cups events held on Wednesday mornings at the Mason Enterprise Center in Leesburg can help startups grow.


Jozwiak says that 1MC "allows businesses to pitch their company and a current challenge they're having to a classroom of like-minded small business owners. Most of the companies have already launched a product and they're earning revenue, but they're not attracting the clients they intended to, or are having a hard time finding qualified employees." 1MC participants get useful feedback from more seasoned business owners at the event. Jozwiak will create similar events on other topics that small business owners need to master.


Jozwiak came to the county with a communications degree from the University of Buffalo. One of her first jobs here was doing marketing outreach for a small business in western Loudoun. That's where she fell in love with goats, and developed a reputation as "a goat whisperer."


"They're the greatest animals!" she proclaims. She thinks startup founders can learn from the goat/investor analogy. With goats, as with investors, "It's hard to keep their attention unless you've got something they're really interested in." Good advice for entrepreneurs to keep in mind.

Vanessa Jozwiak
Vanessa Jozwiak



More on Funding

While angel investors and venture capitalists sometimes make the difference between success and failture for a startup, they're not your only funding source. In fact, very few small businesses rely on angels or VCs to get off the ground. The Kaufman Foundation surveyed the fastest-growing U.S. firms from 1996 - 2014 and found out that this is the breakdown for where startups get their funding:


67.2 percent - personal savings

51.8 percent - bank loans

34.0 percent - credit cards

20.9 percent - family

13.6 percent - have not used financing

11.9 percent - business acquaintances

7.7 percent - angel investors

7.5 percent - close friends

6.5 percent - venture capitalists

3.8 percent - government grants


What's missing from the Kaufman Foundation's list is crowdfunding. OnlineMBA.com offers a short, simple overview on the basics of raising money online to get your business off the ground.


The Kaufman Foundation does offer an excellent, free course on funding for founders. It's presented in eight short videos, which each take about five minutes to watch. The course is taught by Bill Reichert, who founded several businesses before becoming a venture capitalist whose company Garage Technology Ventures has funded more than 150 startups.


For more funding resources, contact our new Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager Vanessa Jozwiak at 703-777-0585 or Vanessa.Jozwiak@Loudoun.gov.

Events and Training


MAVA Tech Buzz

Hot startups will give rapid-fire presentations, get feedback from investor feedback panels, and share insights valuable for everyone growing innovative tech companies.

Date:     Tuesday, June 16

Time:     1-7 p.m.

Place:    AOL - 22000 AOL Way, Dulles

Cost:     Free; register online


Loudoun Tech Startups Happy Hour

Date:     Tuesday, June 23

Time:     5:30-7 p.m.

Place:     V Restaurant and Brewery - 44630 Waxpool Rd., Ashburn

Cost:      Free


1 Million Cups

Present your business to a supportive group of mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs and get useful solutions to your challenges. 

Date:     Wednesday, June 24

Time:     9-10 a.m.

Place:    Mason Enterprise Center, 202 Church St., Leesburg

Cost:     Free


Not a Program, Just a Pint -- and Some Tech Networking

The Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Technology Coalition invites you to bring a growler and 50 business cards and "talk tech" with some new people.

Date:     Tuesday, June 30

Time:     4:30-6 p.m.

Place:    Old Ox Brewery - 44652 Guilford Rd., Unit 114, Ashburn

Cost:     Free

Gut Check From a Guru

"One of the challenges in networking is everybody thinks it's making cold calls to strangers. Actually, it's the people who already have strong trust relationships with you -- who know you're dedicated, smart, a team player -- who can help you." -- Reid Hoffman