N.M. Angels Help Businesswomen Grow Wings – ABQ Journal

In preparation for our Women’s Event on September 18, the Albuquerque Journal profiled the program. The program seeks to educate female entrepreneurs on how to grow their companies. Below is the full article.

Women's Event Feature Article
NMA Business Development Advisor, Dorian McKenzie (above) works with start-up companies to establish operations and marketing procedures, as well as creating new companies in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Angels are looking for not just a few, but a lot of good women with businesses to help them grow and prosper.

The group, which invests in startup companies in New Mexico and other states, is launching a new Women’s Entrepreneurial Education Series, starting Sept. 18 in Albuquerque. The workshops will offer businesswomen knowledge and skills to expand their companies and improve their ability to attract investment capital, said Angels Business Development Adviser Dorian McKenzie.

The group wants to invest in more women-owned businesses, and possibly encourage more women to join the Angels as member investors.

Angels Series
What: Women’s Entrepreneurial Education Workshop Series
Where: WESST Enterprise Center, 609 Broadway NE
When: Sept. 18, 8:30 – 11 a.m.

“We’re a diversified group, but we want more women to participate,” McKenzie said. “Angel investment tends to be a male-dominated industry. We want our organization to be more equally balanced.”

Angels President John Chavez said the number of women and minority-owned businesses is growing. As experienced investors, the Angels want to help those up-and-coming companies succeed.

“We want them to be a bigger part of the financial ecosystem,” Chavez said.

The New Mexico Angels, founded in 1999, is a coalition of high-wealth, individual investors who pool their resources to invest in promising startup companies. Its members are “accredited” investors, defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as individuals with a minimum of $1 million in net wealth, or who have earned at least $250,000 annually for the past two years.

Angel investing is a strong and growing industry. The University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture Research reported $22.5 billion in angel investment in 2011, with more than 318,000 angels actively investing across the country.

In New Mexico, the Angels have become a critical source of seed and early stage capital for local startups. The group pumped $1.31 million into five companies last year, and nearly $5 million into more than two dozen companies since 2007.

This year, the group expects to surpass $1.5 million in 10 companies, its highest annual total to date.

Only 11 of the group’s 75 members are women, about half of whom are “service providers” who invest “sweat equity” in companies rather than capital, offering professional services such as accounting, management or legal representation.

To attract more women members, and to create a broader pool of female-owned business eligible for angel investment, businesswomen need to build more wealth in their companies, McKenzie said.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration, just 3 percent of female-owned businesses have revenues of $1 million or more. And, although women own 30 percent of privately held businesses, they only account for 11 percent of sales and 13 percent of employment among privately held companies.

That creates challenges for the Angels to invest, because companies must demonstrate solid business strategies and growth prospects to receive funding, Chavez said.

“It’s a catch 22,” he said. “We need investors to write checks in investable deals, and we need investable deals to write those checks.”

The first workshop will teach about different business strategies and models, how to build a solid financial management team, and techniques to effectively present a firm’s mission and goals to investors. Future workshops will cover marketing, sales strategies, managing daily business operations, how to build a board of directors and other themes.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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