Women Presidents Organization Increases Visibility of Women-Owned Businesses

Article excerpt

Of all the myths about women entrepreneurs, none is more at odds with reality than the one that women either do not want to, or are unable to, build and run large, thriving organizations.

Members of the Women Presidents Organization certainly prove the fallacy of that stereotype. The more than 450 members who belong to 27 WPO chapters around the United States and Canada, including one in Oklahoma City, are all successful entrepreneurs who run high- growth potential businesses in a variety of industries, from health care to trucking to manufacturing and high technology.

On average, the typical WPO member has been in business for 15 years, employs 85 people and posts annual revenues of $11 million.

That kind of success requires a specific set of ingredients.

l Strong management.

l A sound business plan.

l Solid financials.

l Dedicated employees.

l Innovative products and services.

These are the defining traits of WPO's membership, and the hallmarks of every successful, growth-oriented business. These are also the key ingredients venture capital investors look for when deciding which businesses to invest in.

Yet, when it comes to equity capital, women entrepreneurs barely appear on the radar screens of most venture capital investors. According to recent statistics from Venture One, a San Francisco- based consulting firm, women-owned firms accounted for just 6 to 8 percent of the companies that received the billions of dollars in private equity capital invested in businesses last year.

Increasing the visibility of women-owned businesses with high- growth potential is key to increasing the flow of private equity capital to women.

To raise the profile of WPO members and other successful women- owned businesses among venture capitalists, WPO is joining forces with Springboard Enterprises, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that assists women entrepreneurs who want to grow their enterprises and need funding to help them achieve their objectives.

The nonprofit organization sponsors educational programs and venture capital forums around the country that train women entrepreneurs on how to present their companies to venture capitalists and bring them face to face with private equity investors looking for a good deal. …