You’ve got your eureka moment, an idea you believe is going to ignite/disrupt the world as we know it, a concept that is forever going to redefine the way we use technology in our daily lives, and so on. The truth is that ideas no matter how simple and grandiose, need money and capital to be realized. Obviously, you also need other superb resources who believe in your goal and vision with the same sort of passion as you.
Convincing people about the viability and awesomeness of your personal this-is-it moment can wait, raising funding for your startup cannot. After all, someone needs to fuel up this thing before it can gain traction and admirers in the industry. So, let’s take a look at the hardest step in launching your startup from the ground. Not a simple undertaking admittedly, but with the right person, the right investors and the right confidence, closing the deal is possible.
We give you 5 options to look into when scouring through for funding:
Family and Friends Are the First Resort
Do you know most people may not believe in the ground-breaking idea you came up with but in the person behind that idea? That’s right, and you can imagine what if it was Steve Jobs who was floating a radical idea. Say what people will about his people skills but the man had a penchant for delivering results.
That example might be considered a little off-kilter though, as the first people that you might invest in your startup could be none other than close friends and family. They can prove to be the proverbial straw that does NOT break the camel’s back but rather they’d help you get started at least. Consider your friends and family as the people who can help you secure your first round of funding. This can give you enough leeway to create value around your idea and hopefully catch the eye of the people in the industry.
Be advised though that most often than not, startups can’t even take off. It’s just what it is. There is always the risk of jeopardizing your family’s money and friendships in the process. So, when looking for funding from the close folks, determine if they are in a position to afford to lose it. And as a courtesy, be sure to warn them upfront about the risks associated with this venture.
Heard of incubator programs like Y-Combinator or 500 Startups? They offer you some seed money sure, but there are more than just a few bucks exchanging hands. Not only do you secure good funding, you also get access to top-notch guidance and mentors in the industry, those who are well-versed with the startup culture and issues that permeate them. If you need some smart people who know the ins and outs of the startup scene, joining hands with Incubators is your best bet.
Issue Preferred Stock
So, you are launching your startup. And a lot of people who are getting into raising money for their baby also believe in securing common stock that founders are liable to receive during the course of funding. These shares come with beneficial provisions, such as liquidation preference and rights. Having some preferred stock for yourself as a founder’s privilege (and for investors) is going to make your venture a lot more attractive for people to throw money at. Investors believe you are serious enough to pay them and that too ASAP, so that way it’s all quid pro quo for both parties.
One method that has proven to be immensely popular in the recent years is that of convertible debt. Incubators like Y-Combinator are known to secure at least $150,000 in convertible debts for every startup that qualifies for them. In layman’s term, a convertible debt can be turned into liquid equity in the future, subject to certain goals and milestones your startup achieves. That’s like having another round of funding waiting for you.
Last, But Not the Least, Venture Funding
So, what happens when you set up a startup venture pool and get investments from partners? That money comes when people set up a fund with certain objectives, objectives your startup can help them achieve.
That’s how you can set the ball rolling folks. Funding a startup isn’t easy but it’s not impossible either. And for entrepreneurs who want nothing but the kitchen sink, this guide can help you get started properly.
This article was first published on StartUp Mindset.
Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.
A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.
The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.
Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")
The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."
This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.
Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.
She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."
Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.
"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei
While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.
Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.
The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."
This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.
Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.