Cincinnati-based micro-lending organization Bad Girl Ventures
graduates its third class of entrepreneurs this week. On Aug. 31 at the Cincinnati Art Museum, it will send 10 women into the field with lots of start-up know-how, including business plans, marketing and financing.
The classes include one-on-one consultations with accountants, lawyers and business experts and teach student business owners how to craft marking plans and financial projections among other business strategies.
To date, 18 women-owned businesses have made use of the organization’s lending efforts, resulting in approximately 45 jobs created in Greater Cincinnati and a 100 percent repayment rate on loans, says BGV founder Candace Klein.
“We’re very proud of what we and the women have accomplished,” she says.
The graduates of Bad Girl Ventures third cycle of Cincinnati classes’ run the gamut from the food industry and farming to retail and construction.
“This class has a good range of businesses that have yet to launch to businesses working for several years,” says Corey Drushal, strategic initiatives coordinator for Bad Girl Ventures.
Business skills were not the only thing the classes taught, however, says Brinda Chatterjee, class member and founder of the retail cosmetics website MakeupHaulic.com.
“For me it was two-fold, both the actual business skills imparted in the classes as well as the connections to real-world business people who are willing to give their time to help you,” Chatterjee says. “Literally, three months ago I had no idea any of these resources were available.”
Chatterjee praises Klein for her work in starting Bad Girl Ventures and its contribution to local entrepreneurs.
“Candace has done an amazing job of pulling all these things together to create a launching pad for business and innovation in Cincinnati … and now beyond,” Chatterjee says.
Lu Anne Van Kleunen, founder and owner of Premium Sealcoat
, an asphalt sealing and maintenance business, says she was drawn to the classes offered by Bad Girl Ventures through a television appearance by Klein.
Van Kleunen and her husband decided to start their business in 2009 after both lost their jobs of 30-plus years.
“Candace described what her vision was for BGV – helping women business owners with the challenging issues that prevent them or impeded them from being successful,” Van Kleunen says. “Specifically, Candace talked about women who used personal funds or credit cards to fund their business. That is me.”
What Van Kleunen has learned through the classes will only strengthen her business, she says, and she plans on using the micro-loans to purchase a truck, tank and other required equipment to support Premium Sealcoat's growth.
“Candace and BGV helped make my business acumen stronger, resulting in more opportunities for me and Premium Sealcoat,” Van Kleunen says.
The classes helped illustrate to Toni Winston, founder and president of Tiburon Energy/Tiburon Construction
– a construction company focusing on energy-efficiency, water usage and sustainability efforts – how important financial practices and marketing was to her company’s efforts.
“Since the BGV classroom instruction, I review my projections and financial templates weekly,” Winston says. “I didn’t realize how important a web presence and participation was to growing a business. I now spend time on social media and am working on refining my message and my branding.”
Winston also feels that the focus shouldn’t only be on the 10 finalists graduating from Bad Girl Ventures, but on everyone who took part.
“I think there should be some recognition for the other 40-plus women-owned businesses that showed up weekly to take advantage of the classes and the mentoring,” she says. “We are all Bad Girls!”
By James Sprague