(Photo by Christopher Wink)
A crowdfunding platform that seeks to help women-led businesses is expanding into Maryland.
Founded in Nov., 2016, by former Google/YouTube video executive Karen Cahn, iFundWomen seeks to help female founders get access to capital. It’s well-documented that women-run businesses receive less funding than those run by men, and Cahn wanted to create a way to address the gender gap.
The crowdfunding platform also helps provide visibility for a growing business, as well as the potential to attract backers who are outside of the investor community. After launching local initiatives in Nashville, Tenn., and North Carolina, Cahn said Maryland’s growth in entrepreneurship activity made the region stand out as a next step for expansion.
“Baltimore is experiencing an entrepreneurial resurgence led by the innovation and ideas of small businesses in the region and women entrepreneurs are vital to this growth,” Cahn said. “iFundWomen Maryland is launching at an exciting time and will bring inspiration, community and the funding needed to help new projects get started and accelerate business opportunities for established startups.”
iFundWomen Maryland is currently accepting applications for its first cohort through Aug. 30 It’s open to startups, as well as small businesses.
A local partnership with Betamore will also provide access to additional resources. Officially, the platform is launching at Beta City, the entrepreneurship showcase event set for Sept. 28 at City Garage. Members of the cohort are set to attend the event, offering a chance to show their business and connect with entrepreneurship leaders in the region, said Betamore CEO Jen Meyer. Betamore is looking to provide additional links to its network, she said.
Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, PNC Bank and Athena Powerlink are also partners on the local chapter.