All entrepreneurs face difficulties in getting funding, customers, advice and other resources. But for women and minority entrepreneurs, it has always more been difficult than for the typical small business owners.
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Elizabeth Gore, the co-founder and president of Alice helps businesses launch and grow. Through a network of more than 100,000 companies in all 50 states, Alice is building the largest community of business owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase owner success rate. Previously, Elizabeth served as Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell Technologies.
Elizabeth describes the goal of Alice as a way to build an intelligent and free resource to entrepreneurs to help change the existing entrepreneurial landscape to be more inclusive and representative of the incredible talent small business owners of all backgrounds. It offers a conduit to innovations funds, grants, and comarketing opportunities.
She emphasizes the financial community needs to get equal access to capital. That includes women and minorities who have typically been shut out of traditional sources. As a result, these groups loose the opportunity they would have had if given a chance. Elizabeth mentions that only 2% of woman get venture capital. And only .001% of Latina entrepreneurs do. As a result, her mission is to create systems that are more applicable to the way these people work and their different competing responsibilities.
Alice recently closed a Series A round last year. This included a first-of-its-kind #MeToo clause. It holds their investors accountable for discriminatory behaviors based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. These are actions that do not align with their inclusivity values as a company. They wanted to redefine the funding landscape. And are doing this by writing their own rules. So they put a “morality clause on the table”. Elizabeth felt that building a #MeToo clause was about much more than sexual misconduct. She says that “it represented an opportunity for us to tackle bias as a whole in the business world. We are lucky to have an incredible group of investors that have supported and our clause, including John China at Silicon Valley Bank, Serena Williams, and Bumble.”