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The SoGal Foundation is excited to celebrate year one as an officially registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the news of our receipt of the Kauffman Foundation Inclusion Open Grant. We are thrilled and honored to be the recipient of this grant focused on removing geographic, socioeconomic, and demographic barriers for underserved entrepreneurs.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation awards grantees with “exceptional track records in removing barriers that make starting and growing a business more difficult” out of the belief that “everyone has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality…with zero barriers in the way.” We’re honored to have been recognized at SoGal Foundation for our work in 40+ chapters to serve women and diverse entrepreneurs in their communities, provide educational resources, as well as connect a global network of like-minded founders and funders. …


By Kelley Henry
Illustration by
Hannah Kate Kelley

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As our team here at SoGal Foundation prepares to host the largest global pitch competition for women and diverse founders, we’ve gotten tons of questions from entrepreneurs about best practices when it comes to perfecting the art of the pitch.

We went directly to the source and asked top investors who will be judging our SoGal regional pitch competitions in Chicago, DC, Austin, Los Angeles, Boston, Singapore, New York, and more for their insight. …


Women, people of color, immigrants, veterans, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs, apply to pitch!

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As featured in ABC7 News and Fast Company

We are constantly inundated with overwhelming statistics proving the importance of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship. Only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to women in 2018, less than .1% of funding has been allocated to black women since 2009, and only about 1% of venture-backed companies have a black founder or Latinx founder. These statistics are over-quoted but underacted upon.

This gender and diversity inequality significantly hinders economic growth, since 85% of all consumer purchases are controlled by women, and startups with higher ethnic diversity tend to produce financial returns above their industry norm. The data is clearly leading to one direction: investing in women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, veterans, immigrants, and other minority groups in entrepreneurship leads to higher revenue and better business results.


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I recently went on a mini-tweetstorm that pretty much mirrored what I’m always blabbing about in real life. The TL;DR version is essentially:

The WTF are you talking about?!? version is:

More than 80% of consumer purchases are made by women, yet about 2.2% of venture funding goes to women entrepreneurs — a figure that has not improved from 2017 to 2018, but rather, appears to be stagnant. This is a fairly well-known piece of data in the VC community, however, the implications are often underestimated.

[https://t.co/e9xALcBUOk]
[https://t.co/SiRkZlThNb]

At this point, I think its safe to say that most people understand the importance of diversity from a “feel good” perspective. They want to support diverse teams because they know it’s the right thing to do, and everyone wants to be on the *right* side of history. …


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I am constantly truly fascinated by human beings.

As I reflect on the past five years of my career, I’ve realized that the prevailing theme is my consistent focus on people. From my time as a Project Manager at a startup in ATX, to my side hustle on the business end of Draft Design, to managing actors at Lauren Singer Talent, and now in my current role leading Community and Communications at Work-Bench, I’m intensely intrigued by and passionate about serving and empowering people, as well as building and fostering constructive organizational cultures. …


By Kelley Henry & Kelley Mak

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Level Up Your Executive Briefings and Go-to-Market Strategy

As an enterprise technology venture capital fund in New York City, Work-Bench has worked with hundreds of early stage go-to-market enterprise startups to accelerate their Fortune 1000 customer acquisitions.

Executive Briefings are a valuable tool for the startups in our community to meet and connect with Fortune 1000 enterprise buyers. For enterprises, it’s a chance to evaluate relevant emerging startups that address new opportunities or solve pain points. …


I lead community & communications at Work-Bench, where we hosted a kickass summit last week. I might be a little biased, but by all standards, it really was kickass. We had over 300 women in enterprise technology gathered together, sharing how they navigate the industry and offering support for one another. Ten top leaders (who happen to be women) across all facets of enterprise technology offered their personal stories of successes and failures, as well as pages from their playbooks on overcoming the challenges that coincide with underrepresentation in the industry. It was an undiluted bond of badassery.

One of our many fierce speakers, Rosa Ramos-Kwok, spoke about her journey to fill what she referred to as a “skills wallet” — every valuable characteristic or skill that you’ve learned that you bring to the table. Your skills wallet informs your value and who you are as a team member. She stressed the importance of continually pushing yourself to fill your skills wallet; learn from managers and peers, ask questions, and take on that difficult project that nobody else wants. You’ll be better for it. …

About

Kelley Elizabeth Henry

Closing the diversity gap with @iamsogal

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