Make sure that every VC firm has women on the decision-making side of the table. Studies show that everyone has a bias towards people that remind them of themselves. As such, for those who support inclusion, they should adopt a mandate for inclusion at the partner level of investment platforms. This is why EnrichHER is designed as a women-led inclusive team that provides capital to all women-led firms.
As part of my series about “the five things we need to do to close the VC gender gap” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, CEO and Co-Founder of EnrichHER. Dr. Novellus is a gender equality advocate who believes in economic empowerment and inclusive economic growth. Roshawnna was honored as one of the Women Who Means Business by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, one of the 40 under 40 by Georgia Trend, as a Halcyon Fellow for Social Impact, and as one of the Top 25 Innovators & Disrupters in Tech.
Thank you so much for joining us, let’s jump right in. According to this article in Fortune, only 2.2% of VC dollars went to women in 2018. Can you share with our readers what you or your firm is doing to help close the VC gender gap?
EnrichHER is actively creating opportunities for women-led businesses, focusing on social change, empowerment and creative uses of monetary value. EnrichHER’s funding platform connects revenue-generating women-led companies seeking up to $250,000 with accredited, non-accredited or institutional lenders. In addition, we host conferences that bring local initiatives, founders, and funders together under one roof to experience live coaching and make lasting connections. We teach female entrepreneurs how to position themselves to attract capital, while providing support throughout the process. Our ecosystem has pledged to support 10,000 women grow incredible ventures via our platform and network of entrepreneurs and capital providers.
Can you recommend 5 things that need to be done on a broader societal level to close the VC gender gap, and explain?
1. When deciding which businesses to support, support those who are reflective of the world you would like to see. In fact, ensure your consumer dollars are supporting businesses that have a track record of inclusion.
2. Make sure that every VC firm has women on the decision-making side of the table. Studies show that everyone has a bias towards people that remind them of themselves. As such, for those who support inclusion, they should adopt a mandate for inclusion at the partner level of investment platforms. This is why EnrichHER is designed as a women-led inclusive team that provides capital to all women-led firms.
3. All investors should diversify their portfolio to include women-led ventures. Studies show that women-led ventures are more likely to be successful. As such, investing in women-led ventures makes economic sense and EnrichHER can facilitate this.
4.Males need to become advocates for women entrepreneurs, supporting their causes publicly and financially when possible.
5. Stop assuming that if a woman is in charge of a company, that she’s running a charity. Many women run strong high growth ventures and should be treated as such.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
People need to start talking. Society tends to paint a picture about the black versus white circumstances surrounding men and women in the entrepreneurial space. The truth is, if more males started speaking openly about their thoughts in support of women-led ventures, others would start speaking up as well. There are plenty of women in support of other women, we know this. But there are plenty of men in support of women, as well — we just don’t hear about it. What’s great about EnrichHER’s platform is that it enables men to contribute capital to women-owned businesses, but that’s not enough to change the story with the media on its’ own. Men who invest in women-owned businesses need to become more open about their contributions and get the conversations going. Examples on how to do this could be attending conferences as keynote speakers or even just speaking openly to the media.
Who’s a female entrepreneur/ VC you respect and why?
I highly respect Stacie Whisonant founder of PYT Funds. Stacie is one of the smartest people that I’ve ever met. When she found out that I was joining the ranks of the handful of women founders in FinTech, she reached out and offered to help me in whatever way that I needed, all the while she continues to pave the wave for the next generation of entrepreneurs and students. I highly respect her drive, capacity, and her ability to stay positive amid ignorance, bias, and lack of understanding. She knows her worth and is not easily influenced by anyone who doesn’t value her insight. She continuously excels at whatever she does while being humble and compassionate.
Can you share with us an anecdote about the real impact you’ve had in this field?
I think the purpose varies from person to person. For me, it’s inclusivity. I experienced sexism and discrimination first hand, so I set out to make sure I’d never face that again, nor would any other women or entrepreneurs of color. Others may be motivated for the same purpose, but for some it’s different I’m sure. The impact our efforts can have is astronomical. I look at what EnrichHER has already done for entrepreneurs, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. It excites me knowing I’m not the only one supporting this cause, either. Together we have the power to change the world, making capital equally accessible to entrepreneurs of all genders and races.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
We would love to have a private lunch with Serena Williams. She continuously defies all of her critics and does what she knows to be best to advocate for herself, her status as a mother, and her status as a prestigious athlete. More than often, women are asked to pick only one thing to be fantastic at, but Serena has not minimized herself to this limited perspective. Women have grit, we can balance varied interests, and we can be great at business, life, investing, and athletics. We’d love to speak with her about her journey and how she continuously leverages her grit to win.
Thank you for all of these great insights!
About The Author:
Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry leaders.