Local attorney Candace Klein launched Bad Girl Ventures
in the Spring of 2010 to help fill the gap between small startups looking for loans, and funders who want to invest in local job creation.
She first pitched the well-received idea publically at Ignite Cincinnati
, a fast-paced, five-minute pitch event.
"It's really difficult for women-owned startups right now. And Cincinnati is really a philanthropic area. Personally, I've given to so many charities, political causes and organizations. I thought, 'If there was a way I could give just a portion of that to a startup company that would create jobs, I would,'" said OTR resident Klein during the launch. "I think we're really missing the boat on supporting women-owned startups."
Bad Girl Ventures is based on the micro-financing model of international organizations like Kiva where small loans from individuals are bundled together. Bad Girls is a registered 501(c)3, housed in the Over-the-Rhine Chamber
Revitalization Corporation, so contributions are tax deductible. Businesses will soon apply for loans in a competitive application process that will allow them to get their businesses off the ground.
Klein believes BGV is the first of its kind in the nation because it pairs the micro-lending model with a curriculum and a focus on women. Five chosen startups will undergo a six-week entrepreneur curriculum, where they will learn the building blocks to starting a business and be responsible for submitting a business plan, WBE application, etc. While one of the five entrepreneurs will receive a $25,000 low interest loan from Bad Girl Ventures, other partner banks will be approached to finance the other participants. Another round of financing will follow every six weeks or so.
BGV has nearly met that $25,000 milestone, raising funds from local business people and entrepreneurs (donation levels start at $25). Eligible businesses must be at least 51 percent women-owned and in the sectors of retail, restaurant or professional services.
On June 22, Klein will open the applications for the financing process at an event The Avenue Lounge, 411 Madison Ave., Covington KY 41011, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Computer stations will be set up for go-getters who want to apply online during the event.
Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Candace Klein, founder Bad Girl Ventures
You can follow Feoshia on twitter @feoshiasoapbox