170: Alicia Robb—Move Over, Men…Women Are Starting Businesses And Doing Exceptionally Well

Hear how women-owned businesses are kicking it!

Today’s podcast is all about a topic that we here at SAMC are working on ourselves: how to help women create and grow their businesses. My conversation with Alicia Robb was wonderful. Alicia spent 12 years as a senior fellow (remotely) at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City studying entrepreneurship and women entrepreneurs. You can read some of her Google Scholars articles here. Of particular interest to me, and perhaps to you as well, is her work on minority-owned business performance and the impact of gender differences on business results. So can women start and run hugely successful businesses? You bet. Listen in, learn and pass it on.

Alicia RobbWant to work at a women-led business? Start one.

One of the critical factors influencing business success for women, no matter if the company is minority-owned or not, is the lack of capital and access to that capital. This has become Alicia Robb’s focus. Founder and chief executive officer of Next Wave Impact, a global fund providing early-stage financing and advising to young firms. The difference? Next Wave Impact has 99 women investors, 25 of them women of color, and it is led by an investment committee of ten women. So yes, it can be done.

Women have become the driving machine for the American economy but it continues to be an uphill climb

Between 2017 and 2018, there were over 1800 new women-owned businesses added to the American economy per day. That’s more than twice the pre-2007 time period and the 2007-2012 recession and recovery period. 

In many cases, these female start-up founders had just had enough with the corporate workplace and were ready to strike out on their own. These “necessity entrepreneurs” tend to have smaller businesses and their leaders are focused on making a living. This is quite different from “opportunity entrepreneurs” who see an unmet need (à la Blue Ocean Strategy®), have an idea of how to meet that need and then create a new market space around it.

With the increasing wealth gap in this country and the growing number of women who are the sole or co-bread winners in their families, the fact that women now own 40% of U.S. businesses should make us pause and figure out ways to help them thrive in their quest to achieve success. (This is what our Simon Initiative is all about, which you can read about here.)

More about Alicia Robb

Alicia is the Founder and CEO of Next Wave Impact and the Managing Partner of the Next Wave US Impact Fund, as well as a Managing Partner of the Rising Tide US Pilot Fund. She was previously a Senior Fellow with the Kauffman Foundation for more than a decade, and worked as an economist with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Office of Economic Research in the SBA.

Alicia bookIn addition to authoring numerous journal articles and book chapters, Alicia is the co-author of A Rising Tide: Financing Strategies for Women-Owned Businesses,” The Next Wave: Financing and Investing Strategies for Growth-Oriented Women EntrepreneursandRace and Entrepreneurial Success.

As well as leading workshops on angel investing and investor readiness around the globe, Alicia herself is an active angel investor, a limited partner in three early-stage venture funds, a mentor to various young firms, and an advisory board member for several nonprofit groups, including the Deming Center Venture Fund, the Good Food Institute, Vegan Investors and Women Funders in AR. She is also the founder and past executive

Podcast: director and board chair of the Foundation for Sustainable Development, an international development organization working in Latin America, Africa, and India 

Alicia received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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