There are two statistics that I want to change in my lifetime:
- Only 3% of female founders are running businesses that make $1 million in revenues
- Only 4% of venture capital gets invested in women-run businesses
That’s why I wrote Million Dollar Women. That’s also why I handed over the keys of my company to a new CEO so I could focus full time on the #MillionDollarWomen movement.
If you think about what our foremothers were able to do without even having the Internet or Instagram, including getting us the vote, securing birth control, and passing the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (before 1974, you couldn’t get a bank loan or credit card without a husband or father to co-sign), these stats should be a no brainer to bust apart.
But it’s going to take all hands in the middle to make it happen. Enter the Million Dollar Women.
Our mission at Million Dollar Women is to get one million women to $1M in revenues by 2020
Simple, but not easy. When we have achieved our goals, we will have 13% of all women entrepreneurs running $1M+ businesses who will raise so much capital along the way that the 4% will be a small footnote in history.
The Million Dollar Women Summit, held March 23-24 in NYC, is an important part of this movement because it connects the entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations around the country and around the world who want to help us close the financial gender gap.
With support from the Justice League—the summit’s advisory council made up of angels, VCs and entrepreneurs, including Elizabeth Galbut, Claire Fauquier, Adam Quinton, Eloise Bune, Julia Maltby, Nnamdi Okike and Sam diGennero —we put together a two-day summit for high growth women entrepreneurs. Our theme was Celebrate, Learn, Accelerate in order to honor how far these brave women have come, and give them a big boost as they hike up the entrepreneurial mountain.
The 150 women who attended the inaugural summit at Microsoft Technology Center in New York City had the chance to learn from experts, get coached by successful female founders, and surround themselves with other high-growth women who are in the exact same stage of business development as they are. We set the bar high of having the summit be a game changer for every woman who attended.
The summit was the love child of three communities invested in women reaching their full potential:
- High growth women entrepreneurs determined to scale up their businesses (aspiring “Million Dollar Women”)
- Female founders who run multi-million dollar businesses they built from scratch and are ready to give back (women at the “Mt. Everest Basecamp” of entrepreneurship)
- Investors and socially responsible corporations that want to see more women entrepreneurs go big
The wave of positive feedback on social media (see #MDWSummit on Instagram or Twitter) isn’t just because of our fantastic speakers, panelists, workshop leaders, and coaches. What truly made the summit incredible were the women who attended.
Attending the summit was a game changer for my business. I learned about how to scale up faster in my workshop, met women who really feel like my tribe, and got to sit down with a woman who built a successful business in my industry! I am leaving feeling totally energized. Thank you!
– Erin Coles, Founder, Pro Arts Management & Consulting
As a ‘one woman show’ who is managing every aspect of her business without ever having gone to business school, I learned SO MUCH in just two days. I truly believe that if I had done this sooner, my business would be a lot further along right now. The highest level of coaches, teachers, mentors, and speakers were all in attendance. Additionally, there is true value in being surrounded by other brave, badass women in business. I left with a ton of new friends.
– Laura Cozik, Founder, Travel with Lipstick
As a female entrepreneur it can be challenging to meet women who have walked the walk before you. The Million Dollar Women Summit not only connected me to women who have successfully scaled their businesses, but also connected me to a tribe of women I can now connect with for support at any time. Additionally, the summit taught me how to scale my service business and I can’t wait to apply everything I took away from the amazing speakers. It was truly an amazing and inspiring couple of days!
– Charlotte Chipperfield, Founder, Chipperfield Media
We had over 279 women apply to attend, and were able to fill the room with high-growth women who are serious about scaling. They own businesses in retail, tech, services businesses, goods, and even a stand-up comedy school for girls. They’re all in the scaling up stage; they’re building teams and many are raising their first rounds of angel or VC.
At the summit, these women had access to the three things I wished I could have found more easily when I was building my company, Little Pim: coaching, curriculum, and capital.
I spent six years and over $60,000 on professional development to get to the place personally and professionally where I could grow my business into the multi-millions in revenue.
Now, I want to make it exponentially easier for women to get to $1M in revenue. Women can scale faster and in great company via the summit, the ongoing community we are building, and my four-month online program for women who are ready to go big, Million Dollar Women Masterclass.
It’s exhilarating to build a multi-million dollar business, but it can also be terrifying, lonely, and tough on one’s personal life. Now women don’t have to go big alone; we can all go big together in the Million Dollar Women movement.
Killer keynotes by Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse and Alpana Singh, Restaurateur and Master Sommelier
Kathryn Minshew was the perfect entrepreneur to help us kick off the summit on opening night. She shared the story of how she started her company from her living room and built it into a multi-million dollar platform for millennial job-seekers.
Women who are currently fundraising could relate when Minshew shared how every investor she spoke to said no (148 of them total!) and told her that her idea was crazy – until she finally heard a yes from someone who “got it.”
She reminded us that just because someone doesn’t understand your company doesn’t mean that it’s never going to work. Most big new ideas are seen as crazy at first.
Alpana Singh delivered a touching and hilarious keynote about how she became one of only 27 female master sommeliers in America and a successful restaurateur in Chicago.
One of the key takeaways from Alpana’s talk was that we’re not alone and that, as women entrepreneurs, we belong here and are deserving of a seat at the table.
One of my favorite things that she said was, “Bust the door open and then pull another woman through when you get there.”
During her keynote, we had the opportunity to taste wine made by female winemakers from South Africa, thanks to the socially responsible company Wine for the World.
The panel, Getting to Mt. Everest Basecamp, featured successful female founders who were profiled in Million Dollar Women.
Moderated by the effervescent and insightful Jesse Draper of Halogen Ventures, our panelists addressed some of the burning questions that all women entrepreneurs have when scaling up.
They shed light on how to tell your story to investors using data, what comes after the first check, and how to improve sales strategy by focusing more on the relationship and less on the transaction.
Coaching by female founders who have “been there, done that”
One of the most popular parts of the summit were the coaching sessions at lunch. We had 25 local female founder coaches come for 30-minute one-on-one coaching sessions with our attendees. Coaches tackled challenges such as PR, social media, scaling up, email marketing, fundraising, building a team, and more.
TeLisa Daughtry, Founder and CEO of FlyTechnista, said of her coaching session:
In just 5 minutes into our conversation, my coach helped me figure out how to recruit team members for my company, to scale up. This was super valuable for me because I know how important it is for investors to see a founder with a strong team; and I’ve been trying to build one, but have been having a hard time figuring out where to look. After our conversation, I left feeling confident that I will be able to build a strong team.
When women weren’t being coached, they had a chance to connect with some of our Superhero Sponsors in The Bat Girl Cave. Attendees had one-on-one time with our representatives from companies like Morgan Stanley, ContentBacon, and Capital One.
The judges had to make tough choices at our pitch competition
An important part of the Million Dollar Women Movement is empowering more women to raise capital, so we pulled in some of the top funders of women entrepreneurs in New York for a highly curated pitch competition. Five of our attendees presented for 5-7 min each in front of our esteemed judges Adam Quinton, Nnamdi Okike, Lorine Pendleton, Jesse Draper, and Cathie Black.
All the women who pitched were polished and prepared. The first place prize of a $50,000 investment from SoGal Ventures went to Iman Oubou, founder of Swaay Media. Rachel Renock, CEO of Start Hatching, won the opportunity to pitch to 37 Angels, BBG Ventures, Halogen Ventures, and Rising Tides. Camille Newman of Pop Up Plus won a seat in a virtual accelerator worth $1,200. Kayleen St. John of Euphebe won $4,000 in UPS credits. Siqi Mou of Hello Ava was invited to pitch to other investors because of her involvement in the summit.
I had an amazing time meeting and learning from brilliant women at the #MDWSummit! Way to celebrate women empowerment!
— Karen Lau, Founder, Furnishr
This was one of the best summits I’ve attended, which is impressive for year one. I cannot wait to see how this grows and continues to help ambitious women. Thank you!
— Rachel Portell, Founder & CEO, Taylored Wines
I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my life, but MDW Summit was unique in that it felt like you were really were connecting with the other entrepreneurs at the event. MDW Summit created an open, honest, and inspired environment for female business owners to come together and connect. It’s going to be an annual fixture in my calendar as I learnt so much from being there, and really believe it can help me go BIG!
— Nikki Bentley, Founder & CEO, Perfect Tribe
Beyond the Summit…
At Million Dollar Women headquarters, we’re continually working on ways to keep our community connected. We’re already thinking about how to make next year’s summit longer and what other types of content we can deliver that will help more women scale up faster.
For women who want to continue learning and getting coached in a community of high growth women, there is still time to apply to Million Dollar Women Masterclass. This 4-month course with limited spots includes 8 modules on building a scalable, successful business, as well as lessons from guest experts like Bruce Eckfeldt, who taught Scaling a Services Business at the summit, live-coached masterminds, and tools that are specifically designed for women entrepreneurs who want to scale up and work smarter, not harder.
We can’t thank our Superhero Sponsors enough, whose partnership and support made the summit possible: Microsoft, Content Bacon, Fenwick + West, Capital One, Morgan Stanley, Amazon AWS, UPS, Justworks, SoGal, 645 Ventures, Lucas Point Ventures, and Plum Alley. We also had fantastic partners in SheWorx, National Women’s Business Council, Mogul, and 37 Angels.
Thank you for being part of the Million Dollar Women Movement and helping us to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. And if you are a female founder looking to go big, we are excited to work with you — and help you work it, and win it!