When you think of angels, you think of men and women dressed all in white with giant wings and a halo. However, when you are a small business, an angel could be someone (or a group of people) who provides funding to your business to help it grow into a large company.
There is a new group called Astia Angels. They are focusing on funding female-run small businesses. Surprisingly only 12% of angels focused on female-run businesses in 2011. A study done by Dow Jones shows that companies that have a large majority of females as executives and managers do better than companies that have a majority of males.
Women are still having a tough time proving themselves in the tech world. They are not the stereotypical tech “geek” which is often pictured as a nerdy guy who is straight out of an ivy-league college. People who invest in small companies, especially technology-based companies, will go with what they think they know- which is often that men fit the mold for technology.
Astia is a company that has 3,000 members worldwide. They are a nonprofit organization that aims to help small businesses. They have a program that helps women have access to capital, which will lead to more long term profit. They also include a network of executives, investors, and entrepreneurs.
Astia has not always been part of the “angel” network, but they have been helping train women in small businesses and high-end positions for over 14 years. Half of the members are men, half of the investors are men as well. This is important because it is creating a diverse network.
Adam Quinton, the founder of Astia, is excited about getting the chance to show the world that businesses run primarily by women should not be as under-funded as they are. They look to fund $200,000 to $250,000 per business.
Entrepreneurs come in and present their proposal to a panel of angels. There is a question and answer period and then the decisions are made. Businesses and the economy win.