Michigan Women’s Foundation Board Votes to Create New Fund to Invest in Women-Owned Businesses


DETROIT, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ — The Michigan Women’s Foundation (MWF) board of trustees announced today their support for the formation of a Women’s Angel Fund providing access to capital to start or expand transformative businesses and give the Michigan economy a needed infusion of jobs and change.

Michigan Women’s Foundation will support the investment in early stage women-owned businesses owned or run by disadvantaged women who are creating or expanding businesses in challenged urban areas. The goal of the fund will also be to create mentor relationships and provide professional support through collaborations to women business owners who have not previously had access to economic resources.

“Our board has studied what the Foundation could do that would be the best game changer for the Michigan economy,” said Terry Merritt, chair of the board of trustees. “We found a number of gaping holes – access to money, access to support and mentoring/coaching of women-owned start ups. The Michigan Women’s Foundation is the perfect organization to fill them.”

In a recent study conducted by MWF, it was found that women started new business ventures with eight times less funding than men. Over the past decade, companies headed by women received 7% of venture capital dollars invested – even though women launch nearly half of all new businesses.

“We want to create a whole new way of investing in women-owned businesses,” said Carolyn Cassin, president and CEO of MWF. “We know from a study by Ernst & Young that ‘if women entrepreneurs in the U.S. started with the same capital as men, they would add a whopping 6 million jobs to the economy in five years – 2 million of those jobs in the first year alone’. We intend to spend the next few months structuring these funds and finding women investors. We hope to start soliciting proposals early in 2011.  We’ll be releasing details as these funds are developed and making sure women have the opportunities to invest.”

According to the Wall Street Journal in a May 2010 article on women-owned firms, “… Women consistently have been launching new enterprises at twice the rate of men, and their growth rates of employment and revenue have outpaced the economy.”

“MWF believes that these funds will create a new set of investment opportunities for women,” said Cassin. “Imagine the possibilities of jump-starting this group of new business owners while adding a whole new source of jobs, within a year, for Michigan’s economy. We cannot ignore such a strong return on our investment.”

About Michigan Women’s Foundation

Thirty women, with a shared vision from various Michigan communities, established the Michigan Women’s Foundation in 1986, to support programs that meet the special needs of women and girls. MWF is a statewide foundation committed to building the new generation of leaders and philanthropists by providing support, grants and programs. Over the last 24 years, MWF has raised and awarded more than $3.2 million to over 540 programs impacting the lives of women and girls in areas including education, health, poverty, violence and discrimination.

MWF’s Power of 100 Women was founded in 2009, a statewide group of women leaders who support MWF with their financial and intellectual resources.

SOURCE: Michigan Women’s Foundation

CONTACT: Carolyn Cassin, +1-313-640-0128