If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, then meet us in Houston next month at the 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit. Each year, our annual conference attracts hundreds of entrepreneurs from around the country and empowers them with the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to expand their businesses. Along with providing access to powerful business leaders, this year, attendees will also have an opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one business coaching session with an angel investor.
In wake of the summit, Black Enterprise spoke to Ahaji Amos, Esq., an intellectual property attorney and a member of Pipeline Angels — a network of female investors that creates capital for women and non-binary femme entrepreneurs. At the summit, Amos is one of the private investors who will offer business consultations.
“I will coach participants on what investors are looking for when making investment decisions. I will also review financials, pitch strategy, and coach them on increasing the value of their intellectual property portfolio,” she told Black Enterprise in an email.
Amos also explained why Pipeline Angels found it important to participate in the Summit.
“It’s important for Pipeline Angels to be a part of ES because Pipeline investors are committed to investing in companies that traditional venture capitalists and angel investors have left behind, including those ventures that are minority-owned or led. Minority-owned startups received less than 2% of angel funding in 2016,” she said.(Image: Ahaji Amos, Esq.)
Amos, who specializes in intellectual property law, went on to discuss the importance of encouraging more women to become angel investors and share advice on how entrepreneurs can find the right investor and build their business. See her answers below.
Why is it important to encourage more women to become angel investors?
The numbers. Thirty-percent of all businesses in the U.S. are women-owned, and 15% of all businesses are minority-owned. Women and minorities are far less likely to get the opportunity to pitch for angel and venture capital investments and less likely to get funded when they do. Women are 1/3 as likely to be funded by angel investors and only receive 7% of all VC funds invested.
What should entrepreneurs do in order to find the right angel investor for their business?
I suggest that entrepreneurs seek angels that have indicated a specific intention to invest in minority-owned startups. To this day, only 2% of minority-owned startup companies received equity financing, despite statistics showing that about 68% of new businesses were owned or led by black women.
What are three tips for small business owners looking to secure capital to launch or grow their business?
- Get help.
There is free to low-cost advice for entrepreneurs seeking capital. Consulting firms, the Small Business Association, trade organizations, incubators, and accelerators are a good first step for foundational information on obtaining capital.
- Know your numbers.
I’ve sat through many pitch sessions where the person presenting is very articulate, but can’t seem to answer questions about financials. Entrepreneurs should understand that no matter how good of an idea you have, investors are primarily money-driven. Good ideas don’t equate to good profits. Show them very clearly that you know how your numbers will benefit the investor.
- Know your investor.
Investors have strategic profiles. They may want a diverse portfolio or a market-segmented portfolio. Pitch to investors that are interested in your product. If you have a food product, pitching to investors that only invest in consumer apps will be a waste of your time. If an investor prefers a diversified portfolio it might not make sense to pitch to an investor who has already invested in two food product ventures. Know what they are looking for and whether you’d be a good fit.
REGISTER NOW to learn more about entrepreneurship and business success at the 2017 Entrepreneurs Summit on May 17–20 in Houston.
Selena Hill is the Associate Digital Editor at Black Enterprise and the founder of the award-winning talk show, Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio. You can hear Hill and her team talk millennial politics and social issues every Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @MsSelenaHill.