Webinar - Women Business Owners' Guide to Accessing Capital




Did you miss the webinar? Please see the recorded version below. 





The need for capital is often the primary concern for women business founders, particularly since they received only 2% of U.S. venture capital in 2017. Both institutional and private investors are paying increased interest in gender lens investing and consider it a strategic investment decision to drive sustainable development, increase investment returns and mitigate risks associated with gender

Additionally, some investors have realized that women-owned businesses generate $1.8 trillion revenue -- 4.3% of the total private sector revenue and employ 9.2 million people -- 8% of the total private sector workforce.1 Businesses founded by women “ultimately deliver higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested—than those founded by men, making women-owned companies better investments for financial backers.” 2

Leaders at the forefront of business and investment will share how emerging funding models, from corporate funds to crowdfunded pitch competitions, are increasing capital availability for women entrepreneurs and how concretely they can access capital. Practical examples will be showcased.


Click here to register and join the webinar. 

The webinar is organized by WE EMPOWER Programme Team in collaboration with Alice and Black Girl Ventures.



Cherylyn Harley LeBon, CEO, KLAR Strategies and former Assistant Administrator, US Small Business Administration & WE EMPOWER US Advisory Group Member

Opening remarks

- Tim Rivera, Programs Officer for the EU Delegation to the United States


- Shelly Bell, CEO, Black Girl Ventures 

- Sharon Carney, Economic Strategy Director, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, District of Columbia

- Elizabeth GorePresident and Chairwoman of the Board, Alice


Cherylyn Harley LeBon, CEO, KLAR Strategies and former Assistant Administrator, US Small Business Administration

Cherylyn Harley Lebon is a lawyer, advocate, and strategist with almost 20 years of experience in Washington, D.C. and abroad. She is the President and CEO of KLAR Strategies and provides strategic counsel, stakeholder engagement and business strategy to small businesses, start-ups, executives, and corporations.

She was an appointee in the George W. Bush Administration as an Assistant Administrator for Intergovernmental Affairs, as Deputy Chief of Staff, and Deputy Director of Field Operations for the Small Business Administration. Cherylyn served as the liaison between the SBA, Governors, and state and local officials.  She coordinated SBA’s programs and policies, including loans and financial assistance, and contracting for women, minority, and small businesses across the country. She also served as a Deputy in Field Operations where she managed daily operations for 11 regional offices; 68 district offices, and almost 1000 employees.

She writes about policy, business, and legal issues for a variety of publications including the Huffington Post, Opportunity Lives, SheKnows, and publishes op-eds in newspapers all over the country. Cherylyn regularly appears on nationally broadcast radio and television programs including CNN, Capitol Insider, Thom Hartmann Show, Sky News, the BBC, and FOX News.


Tim Rivera, Programs Officer for the EU Delegation to the United States

Tim Rivera is a Programs Officer for the EU Delegation to the United States. He manages a portfolio of programs covering the breadth of the transatlantic policy agenda and in support of the European Union's outreach across the US. He also serves as liaison for higher education institutions in the U.S., including a network of European Studies centers. He previously worked at the British Council. You can follow the EU Delegation to the U.S. on Twitter, @EUintheUS.


Shelly Bell, CEO, Black Girl Ventures 

Shelly Bell is a system disruptor and business strategist who moves ideas to profit while empowering people to live more authentically. As a cultural translator, she connects entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations in order to diversify their talent pipeline, increase equity and grow their brands.

A Computer Scientist with a background in performance poetry, K-12 Education and IP Strategy, she is what best-selling author Daniel Pink defines as “A Whole New Mind.” Named Entrepreneur of the Year (2017) by Technically DC and acknowledged as A Rising Brand Star by Adweek, She is among the nation's most sought-after Ecosystem Builders and transformational speakers in the Washington, DC Metro area. Shelly has been featured in Forbes, The Washington Business Journal, NewsOne, The Afro, and People of Color in Tech. Her organization, Black Girl Ventures (BGV) is a social enterprise that creates access to social and financial capital for Black/Brown women founders. BGV travels the country with a disruptive pitch competition that shifts the power dynamics in funding by combining crowdfunding and pitching. Google recognized Shelly’s ability to engage an audience from grassroots to government. As a result, she serves as the Google Digital Coach for DC working to bridge the digital divide for Black & Latinx business owners. 


Sharon Carney, Economic Strategy Director, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, District of Columbia

Sharon Carney serves as Economic Strategy Director in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in the District of Columbia, where she oversees implementation of DC’s Economic Strategy and manages programs aimed at growing emerging sectors and improving access to capital for DC entrepreneurs.

Prior to DC Government, Sharon served as chief of staff at the Urban Institute and held positions at the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Business Policy in the City of Los Angeles, Michigan Suburbs Alliance, and New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, where her work focused on housing policy and access to opportunity. 


Elizabeth Gore, President and Chairwoman of the Board, Alice

Elizabeth Gore is President and Chairwoman of the Board for Alice, (HelloAlice.com), a free website that helps business owners find the right path to start and grow their companies. Prior to Alice, Elizabeth was Dell Technologies’ Entrepreneur in Residence, where she drove initiatives to help small and medium businesses scale and prosper, and the first-ever Entrepreneur in Resident for the UN Foundation.

Elizabeth personally advises the growth of purpose-driven companies, such as ride share commuting company Scoop, and is an investing Limited Partner with the Portfolia fund. In addition, Elizabeth is part owner in Gore Family Vineyards in Sonoma County. She is the Emeritus Chair of the United Nations Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. Prior to becoming the Entrepreneur in Residence, Elizabeth was Vice President of Global Partnerships, where she founded strategic grassroots efforts such as Nothing But Nets, Girl Up, and Shot@Life.

She was named by People as one of the “Top 100 Extraordinary Women,” is one of Fast Com-pany’s “Most Creative People in Business,” and Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Women to Watch.” She has been featured by many media outlets, including: ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX Business, Inc., Fast Company, Fortune, Glamour, Entrepreneur, People, and Time.




Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women at Work through Responsible Business Conduct in G7 Countries (WE EMPOWER Programme) is a programme funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Over the next two years, the WE EMPOWER Programme will convene stakeholders dialogues in the EU, Canada, Japan and the US to exchange knowledge, experiences, good practices and lessons learned in the context of the changing world of work. The EU is also funding a sister programme in six Latin American and Caribbean countries: Win-Win, Gender equality means business together with UN Women and ILO and is considering a possible future EU action with strategic partner countries in Asia. The Asia project is currently being conceptualized in cooperation with UN Women.

Driven by data analytics, Alice connects female entrepreneurs in real time with the resources needed to scale based on startup stage, location, industry, revenue, and individual needs.Alice offers its users a conversational user interface focused on areas such as financing, legal, marketing, and technology. It also offers a personalised dashboard, user profiles with data collection capabilities, a library of resources, a network of global experts and leaders, as well as an events calendar.

BGV creates place-based initiatives to provide access to capital for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs. Our mission is to use entrepreneurship support and training as a vehicle for poverty alleviation and wealth building. Black and Brown women founders are underserved, unbanked and underfunded. It is time to change that! Since 201, we have traveled to 4 cities, raised over $30K, funded 10 founders, created pipeline of over 300 black/ brown women founders, formed over 20 partnerships, and engaged a following of over 20K people with diverse backgrounds

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