New Report from OWL Highlights

Potential of Women Entrepreneurs to Give Economy a Boost


Washington DC - May 6, 2015 -- In case you were wondering where the next economic boom is coming from, OWL believes it lies with the increasing number of women entrepreneurs. 


That trend is the subject of OWL's 2015 Mother's Day Report, 'Our Women Mean Business: Encore Careers After 40;'  the report also highlights obstacles that could prevent that potential from being reached, including the meager amount of venture capital going to women. Women received a dismal 7% in VC funds in the first half of 2013 and there are no indications it has gotten any better.


Yet there are hard numbers that demonstrate VC firms would do well to fund more women.


For example, women-led technology firms are more capital-efficient, and when backed by venture capital bring in 12% more revenue than their male counterparts. Overall, venture capital firms that invest in women do better than those that don't.


The report is being released today at 2:30 p.m. at the National Press Club; the briefing will include information on OWL's upcoming campaign to increase the percentage of VC funds going to women from 7% to 20% by 2020. OWL is the only national nonprofit focusing on increasing the flow of VC funds to women.


OWL is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. "We were founded because women faced many more challenges achieving economic security than men," says OWL Executive Director Bobbie Brinegar. "What's exciting about the trends we're seeing now is the emphasis on getting women the tools they need to open new businesses. And it's not necessarily about fairness. It's about more economic opportunity for everyone."


She pointed to a report from Babson College that found  six million jobs would be created over five years if women entrepreneurs started with the same amount of capital as men.


The report debunks the conventional wisdom that most successful entrepreneurs are in their 20s. People 55 and older are almost twice as likely to found successful companies as those 20-34.


Women are also ideally suited to solve marketplace problems, since they make close to 85% of all consumer decisions.


"Our nation needs the talents of 100% of our population," said OWL Board Chair Margaret Huyck. "And if we don't start making sure everyone has equal access to capital, we will have a tougher time competing globally. Because a number of countries are waking up to the untapped talents of women - and they're being very aggressive about changing the equation."


The report includes OWL's first-ever Hall of Notables, ten remarkable women who embody the spirit of encore entrepreneurism. Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour, the first African American female combat pilot, who now runs a successful consulting business; Carol Gardner, founder of Zelda Wisdom, Inc.; Svetlana Kim, entrepreneur and best-selling author; Kay Koplovitz, Founder of USA Network; Patricia Lizarraga, managing partner of Hypatia Capital Group; Nell Merlino, Chair, Personal Data Independence Trust; Jeanne Sullivan, a founding principal of StarVest; award-winning author Gail Sheehy; Terrie Williams, an inspirational speaker and writer; and Teresa Younger, CEO of Ms. Foundation.


A panel discussion featuring many of the honorees will follow opening remarks by Latifa Lyles, Director of the Women's Bureau at the Department of Labor. Lisa Stark, Al Jazeera America correspondent, formerly with ABC News, will moderate.





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OWL is the only national nonpartisan organization that focuses solely on issues affecting the economic security and quality of life for the nation's 
estimated 78 million women over 40. 

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