Their businesses number more than 10.6 million in the U.S., employ more than 19 million workers and account for $2.5 trillion in sales, according to Entrepreneur magazine. Who are these influential business owners? Women.
According to the fifth annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express OPEN, female entrepreneurship has grown steadily over the last decades, with more than 130,000 women-owned businesses reported in Wisconsin. And a new partnership between the Madison-based Doyenne Group and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is aiming to spur even more women-led ventures in Wisconsin.
The two organizations joined forces to create the Doyenne Evergreen Fund to provide $400,000 in early-stage capital to female entrepreneurs looking to start their businesses in Wisconsin: WEDC awarded a $200,000 Capital Catalyst Program grant, and matching funds were raised by Doyenne.
The fund will allow for 40 grants of $5,000 each, as well as $200,000 designated for other investments, depending on business need.
To qualify, businesses must have at least 50 percent female ownership, 51 percent employment in Wisconsin, a headquarters in the state and products or services that demonstrate innovation within their industries.
WEDC’s Capital Catalyst Program provides grants to entities to leverage matching funds to provide seed funding for startup or scaling companies. WEDC has allocated $2 million for the program this fiscal year.