Tag Archives: business ideas for women

Startup Boot Camps Looking for Entrepreneurs

10 Apr
Celena's Pink Waltz

Image by snupped via Flickr

 

Business accelerators are spreading across the U.S. as early stage investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers try to speed how long it takes to create new ventures—from years to months.

Launchpad Ignition

Launch Pad Ignition is a new startup accelerator. An exciting leap for the New Orleans startup ecosystem, Ignition creates a framework to help founders refine their product offering, invigorate their business plans, and raise funding to fuel their growth. Launch Pad Ignition is a program of Launch Pad, a co-working & incubator space in downtown New Orleans. With 12,000 sq ft of shared workspace and more than 60 companies, Launch Pad is at the heart of the entrepreneurial renaissance in New Orleans and is one of the most successful co-working spaces in the country.

Techstars

TechStars is a mentorship-driven seed stage investment program. They run a three month long program in Boston (MA), Boulder (CO), New York City (NY) and Seattle (WA) once each year. They’re very selective – hundreds of companies apply and we only take about ten companies per city. These companies get up to $18,000 in seed funding, three months of intensive top-notch mentorship, and the chance to pitch to angel investors and venture capitalists at the end of the program.

DreamIT Ventures

The DreamIt founders designed DreamIt to be the startup accelerator program they wish existed when they started and sold their first companies. New startups today need only a little funding, but they need more help and support than ever before. They need a community of fellow entrepreneurs to share ideas and inspiration, technologists to join their team, Mentors and coaches who have struggled on their way to a big success, legal and accounting services that don’t cost precious cash, and opportunities to meet and pitch angel investors and venture capitalists.

Incubate Miami

Incubate Miami is a public/private partnership between Digiport http://www.digiport.com and The Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida (EDC) http://www.edc-tech.org that supports emerging science and technology companies in Miami.

Conceived of by Marc Billings, CEO of Digiport, Incubate Miami provides multiple layers of support for entrepreneurs. The mission is to accelerate the growth of startups and innovation and to develop a vibrant technology-based community that creates high-skill, high wage jobs in industries that drive the global economy.

NYC Seedstart

NYC SeedStart Media is a 12-week summer program designed to provide seed funding to technology companies to build a product and launch their company. SeedStart is interested in companies focusing on advertising infrastructure, e-commerce, digital content, and mobile technology. Companies will work with an incredible network of mentors, professionals, and experienced technology entrepreneurs. Venture Capital Partners include Contour Venture Partners, Comcast Interactive Capital/Genacast Ventures, NYC Seed, Polaris Venture Partners, RRE Ventures.

500 Startups

500 Startups provides early-stage companies with funding ranging from $10K to $250K via seed investments, our startup accelerator program, and new micro-fund models like the Twilio Fund. With over 120 experienced startup mentors around the world, creative 10,000 sq ft working space in the heart of Silicon Valley, and a vibrant community of startup founders, they help companies succeed in ways other venture firms do not.

The 500 Startups Accelerator experiments with early-stage startup formulas for explosive growth with a mixture of up to $100K in funding, superhuman mentors & designers in residence, platform-specific strategies for customer acquisition, a creative workspace and more.

Excelerate Labs

Excelerate Labs is an intensive summer accelerator for startups driven by proven entrepreneurs and investors. Led by world class entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (OKCupid, Sparknotes) and Troy Henikoff (SurePayroll), the program is unique in attracting dozens of mentors from around the country to work with the teams in direct 1-on-1 meetings.

The program selects ten companies every spring to participate in the 13-week intensive summer program. Starting on June 1st, the ten companies build connections and their business during the program. The program culminates in an Investor Demo Day on August 31st, where the companies showcase their progress and plans to more than 200 angel and venture investors from around the country.

For a list of Startup Bootcamps around the world, visit Robert Shedd’s blog at http://blog.shedd.us/321987608/

6 Hot Industries for 2011

27 Feb
DIY Business Card

Image by The Bottomless Paddling Pool via Flickr

6 Top Performing Industries for 2011 according to our friends at Inc.com

The Best Bets

Looking to launch a business in 2011 but not sure where the best opportunities for success lie? IBISWorld has targeted six industries heavily concentrated with small- and medium-sized businesses that are poised to grow in the year to come. The market researcher judged sectors based on a set of criteria including revenue growth, employment growth, current profits, and barriers to entry. Some, like e-commerce and advertising, may be old news at this point. While others, such as real estate appraisal, may surprise you.

 
Debt Collection Agencies

It’s nearly impossible to owe money these days without getting a barrage of phone calls on behalf of your creditors – thanks in large part to the rise of third-party collection agencies. The debt hounds will have plenty to chew on next year, as recoveries in employment and the housing market should free up cash to pay back outstanding loans, says IBISWorld. All they have to do is go get it. While the average agency now generates a profit margin of about 5.9 percent, the number will grow slightly in 2011 and eventually climb to 10 percent by 2015. This is due to some companies not wanting to chase down debtors themselves, instead preferring to give agencies a larger bounty.

2011 Revenue Growth: 4.1 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 0.5 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

E-commerce and Online Auctions

If record sales during the holidays are any indication, online retail will continue booming and achieve double-digit revenue growth in 2011. Due to the increasing ease in setting up a website, small vendors are further penetrating the market. E-tailers have also upped the savvy factor with widespread discounts, targeted advertising, and elegant, efficient site design—all created to lure customers out of brick-and-mortar stores and onto the Web. Popular product categories include clothing, footwear, jewelry, electronics, sporting goods, toys, and furniture, often sold through online commerce communities such as eBay, Newegg, and Etsy.

2011 Revenue Growth: 11.4 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 6.1 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

Environmental Consulting

Thanks to the confusion over increasingly strict environmental rules, these consultants should be in high demand. Companies in fields like construction and waste management turn to consultants to navigate the various environmental waters, while others simply hire them to enhance their image. As economic conditions improve, consulting firms will be needed to audit new buildings and the underlying land for environmental safety. And with sustainable homebuilding on the rise, a growing number of homeowners will enlist environmental services as well.

2011 Revenue Growth: 7.5 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 7.2 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

Real Estate Appraisal

Recovery in the battered real estate market is likely to be slow going, but this area should be among the first to improve. Existing home sales are expected to pick up, giving appraisers plenty of work. Additionally, as the recession wanes and low interest rates persist, businesses looking to expand will boost the commercial markets as well. And don’t let the relatively weak employment forecast fool you: most firms in the industry are single-owner operated or small independents that don’t need to take on employees to grow.

2011 Revenue Growth: 8.8 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 3.8 percent
Barriers to Entry: Low

Advertising Agencies

Agencies that create online, targeted, and integrated ad campaigns will compete for a healthy allotment of ad dollars in 2011. IBISWorld projects improvements in consumer sentiment, and corporate profits in the coming year to drive an increase in media expenditures. Digital media in particular will be the recipient of an increasing amount of ad dollars, with some experts expecting spending in the space to double in the next five years. Companies able to reach the nascent mobile market and targeted niches will be the big winners.

2011 Revenue Growth: 3.5 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 3.9 percent
Barriers to Entry: Medium

Job Training and Career Consulting

With only mild job growth expected next year, workers competing for limited openings will need to differentiate themselves with improved skills or develop new ones if they’re forced to switch careers. The job training industry will also get a big boost from government funding for programs focused on putting the unemployed to work and creating new jobs. Much emphasis has been placed in recent years on gaining new skills, which will both help people get jobs and improve business performance.

2011 Revenue Growth: 3.4 percent
2011 Employment Growth: 2.1 percent
Barriers to Entry: Medium

For more information visit www.inc.com

11 Home Based Businesses for 2011

16 Jan

2011 is here and those of you looking for ideas on what types of businesses to start do not have to look very far.

Inc.com has put together a list of the hottest home businesses for 2011.

Etsy Craft Master
Dennis Anderson

Anderson Soap Company

When Dennis Anderson was asked if he considered himself more of an artist or an entrepreneur, he thought for a moment and replied, “Well, somewhere in between. I like creating things.” Anderson has achieved what so many Americans crave: he has turned his craft—organic soap making, or saponification—into a profitable business from his home. Anderson Soap Company launched in 2007 in his California apartment, and has since moved into a rented house in Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his fiancée and children. Anderson, who started out as an accounting major in college, fell in love with soap making after taking a chemistry course that taught him the process. He has sold soaps to buyers in all 50 states and distributes internationally to Malaysia, Singapore, France, and Sweden.

Quirky Kid’s Clothing
Jenny Ford

Monkey Toes

The children’s clothing industry is a multi-billion dollar market, and a recent surge of interest for specialized kid’s gear has given companies like Monkey Toes, a Colorado-based venture run by Jenny Ford, a niche in this burgeoning market. Monkey Toes is a line of animal and insect-themed footwear for children. Ford started the company in 2002 after drawing designs on her daughter’s shoes. “I thought, ‘Oh, that’s cute,’” Ford recalls. “I fell in love with it.” She chose to keep her business at home to be able to spend more time with her two young daughters, but lack of an office hasn’t stymied the growth of the brand. Ford currently distributes in stores all over the world, and recently signed a new distribution deal that will take the product into the hands of 100 representatives around the country.

Building Better Communities
Kene Turner

EpiLife

Kene Turner understands the value of building a better business. After all, that’s his job. The mission of EpiLife is to help organizations achieve social responsibility by implementing special project-based initiatives within their communities. Before launching EpiLife, Kene worked for the YMCA of New York, where he taught youth entrepreneurial programs. EpiLife is based out of Turner’s home in New York City, and represents his desire to give back to the community that helped him in his own childhood. “When I was a teen I lost my mom to cancer,” he says. “I never knew my father. I was a child in transition. I had family, but not much. The ones that really helped me were members of the community…and it was that message that I want to implement into a venture or business.”

eBay Powerseller
Ann Whitley Wood

Willow-Wear

Ann Whitley Wood is an attorney-turned-entrepreneur who saw a market for designer goods and collectibles on eBay nearly 10 years ago. In what started out as a hobby, Wood now manages over 350 listings on eBay through her store Willow-Wear, and works with about 40 clients on any given day from her home in Texas. In 2010, Wood sold over 1,100 items for about $450,000—making her one of eBay’s true “powersellers.” Though she does not keep inventory in her house, working from home has been an integral part of her business. “I had to be able to sell on eBay from home, in between taking care of my children and managing the rest of life,” Wood says. To be successful as an eBay entrepreneur, Wood says you must have an acute understanding of your product, as well as your competition.

Online Wedding Resources
Emily Newman

OnceWed.com

Wedding dresses are bought (one hopes) only once, making them one of the most expensive purchases in a woman’s life. So Emily Newman thought, why not buy second-hand? “I saw a need where women my age were dealing with a lot of the same things,” says Newman, the founder of the Once Wed, an online wedding community, based in Atlanta. “They didn’t have a huge budget, but they still wanted to wear a beautiful dress.” So Newman and her husband, who works in online advertising, teamed up to launch Once Wed, a site for brides-to-be. The site has grown from a used dress listing service to the be-all resource for brides, similar to TheKnot.com. Once Wed puts together inspiration guides and a popular blog, which helps drives traffic to the site.

Social Media e-Commerce
Hakan Nizam

NetFoliage

NetFoliage is a web development company that creates web sites for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists. It’s also one of a growing number of web development companies that specialize in building e-commerce sites and online stores for social networking sites like Facebook. Nizam, who is originally from Istanbul, has been based out of his Brooklyn apartment since he launched the company in 2007—and plans to stay in his home, too. “Honestly, it didn’t even occur to me to rent an office,” he says. “I didn’t have the time or the need to think about. I would never do it—it’s becoming a lifestyle. I can go on vacation without worrying about anything. I turn off my phone and the business is closed.”

Mommy Blogger
Michelle Mitton

Scribbit.blogspot.com

You don’t need to attend a BlogHer Convention to realize that “mommy bloggers” are a force to be reckoned with. Michelle Mitton was one of the first “mommy bloggers” to make a name for herself and her blog Scribbit, almost six years ago. In 2008, she was selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten blogs about motherhood, and her site attracts nearly 60,000 page views every month and 2,300 daily subscribers. Mitton publishes recipes, household tips, product reviews, and has even written a book about blogging, all from her home in Alaska. “With so many blogs out there, you have to be the ‘purple cow’ as Seth Godin talks about. I try to diversify my topics a bit—I even have a few men [readers].”

Curated E-mail Newsletter
Chris McCann

StartupDigest.com

Chris McCann (pictured) and Brendan McManus launched StartupDigest.com as a resource for entrepreneurs looking to get involved in their community and connected with other entrepreneurs. The site has seen remarkable growth; in just a little over a year, the site has grown to 100,000 subscribers and has spread to over 50 cities. And though the content reaches people all over the world, McCann and McManus rarely have to leave their house in Palo Alto, California. “When you’re on a shoestring budget, and if the deciding factor is to spend money to get the office or spend money and do the marketing and get the product out there, do all that stuff first,” says McCann. “An office should not be high on your lists of priorities.”

Sports Content Aggregator
Ann Gaffigan

WomenTalkSports.com

Ann Gaffigan felt that there needed to be more mainstream media coverage of women’s sports. So, about two years ago, she teamed up with two co-founders to launch WomenTalkSports.com, an online network that has become one of the most thorough purveyors of women’s sports news. “We didn’t research the market for this,” Gaffigan says from her home in Kansas. “It just came from our belief that something like this really needed to happen, and we want the next generation to see positive female role models.” There are over 100 websites that link to WomenTalkSports.com, and about 70 bloggers on the site. While the site’s traffic varies depending on the season, the site swells when national competitions are brought to the spotlight. During the Vancouver Olympics, for example, the site had over a million visitors.

Custom Men’s Shirts
Danny Wong

Blank Label

Who said custom designed shirts had to be expensive? Blank Label is a Boston-based start-up that allows users to design custom dress shirts, choosing the fabric, pattern, buttons, and size, for a modest price under $100, depending on the extras. Blank Label was created by Danny Wong (center) and three co-founders (and classmates) in the summer of 2009. After a brief period of incubation by their college, Babson, the team chose not to take on an office lease. “It worked better for us,” says Wong. “We didn’t want to pay for office space.” The founders lived together in Shanghai for several months, developing relationships with suppliers and working out of their living room. At one point, they were operating with members based from home in three different time zones around the world, but Wong says it’s never been a problem.

Application Consulting
Stacy Blackman

Stacy Blackman Consulting

Stacy Blackman knows what it takes to get into one of the nation’s top MBA programs. Blackman, a who received her own MBA at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, turned her passion for helping students gain admission into MBA programs into her full-time job after years working in private equity. “When I first started my business, I wasn’t trying to start a business; I was just doing something I really enjoyed.” Now, Stacy Blackman Consulting has turned into one of the premier MBA international consulting firms, with clients and consultants based all over the world. Blackman has even graced the cover of Fortune, and published a book titled The MBA Application Roadmap.

Visit www.inc.com for more information.

The next big thing in fashion…and she’s only 11yrs old!

19 Oct

Have you heard of Cecilia Cassini? well if you haven’t you better pay attention because she is fast becoming a household name.

Cecilia’s passion for fashion began at the tender age of six, when she recieved a sewing maching for her birthday. While other  girls her age were busy playing with Barbie dolls, Cecilia was reading fashion magazines and teaching herself how to make beautiful dresses.

Now, at 11 years of age, she’s already an established fashion designer. She’s already dressed celebrities like Heidi Klum and Miley Cyrus and is about to star in her own reality show.

Her fashions are sold in the tony Fred Segal boutique in Santa Monica and online.

To learn more about Cecilia visit her website at http://www.ceciliacassini.com.

9 Companies seeking ideas/inventions

11 Oct
bulb - wallpaper ed

Image by .robbie via Flickr

 

If you have an idea for a product, you might want to consider licensing it. Licensing is when a manufacturer already selling other products into your target market agrees to sell your product as part of their product line. They pay you a royalty on their sale of your product which is typically between 3% and 10% of the wholesale price.

Here are 9 companies currently seeking new inventions/product ideas :

KIDS/INFANT PRODUCTS

Crown Crafts infant products

Manufacturer of bedding blankets, accessories and Pillow Buddies. Nursery safety tips and shopping checklist.

http://www.nojo.com/

Dex Products

DEX Products makes life safer, easier, and more comfortable for children and parents. Makers of the popular Dura-Bib, Dex offers a variety of helpful items for sleeping as well as traveling safely and comfortably. http://www.dexproducts.com/ideas.htm

Creative Teaching Press

Creative Teaching Press publishes a wide variety of products for grades PreK–8, including teacher resource books, bulletin boards, borders, emergent readers, and charts.

http://www.creativeteaching.com/t-SubmitAnIdea.aspx

Mega Brands

MEGA Brands provides stimulating creative experiences for children and families through innovative, well-designed, affordable and high-quality products that are marketed worldwide under leading brands such as MEGA BLOKS, ROSE ART, MAGNEXT and BOARD DUDES.

http://www.megabrands.com/en/corpo/aboutus.php

HOME APPLIANCES/PRODUCTS

Applica Consumer Products

Applica Incorporated is a marketer and distributor of a wide range of small appliances for use in and outside the home. Through its operating subsidiary, Applica Consumer Products, Inc .

http://www.applicainc.com/inventors-corner/

Dial Corp

Henkel is the name behind some of America’s best-known brands. From Dial soaps to Purex laundry detergents, göt2b hair styling products, Right Guard antiperspirants, and Loctite adhesives, Henkel brands are part of your daily life. Henkel has grown rapidly in North America during the past several years and now generates about 20 percent of worldwide sales in this region.

http://www.henkelna.com/innovation/henkel-innovation-partnership-program-6085.htm

BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Goody Products

Goody Products, Inc. is part of Newell Rubbermaid’s portfolio of Beauty & Style brands.Goody is the world’s most recognized manufacturer of hair styling tools and accessories.

http://www.newellrubbermaid.com/public/Our-Company/Do-Business-With-Us/Brand-Assets.aspx

PET PRODUCTS

Coastal Pet Products

Coastal Pet Products, Inc. was founded over 40 years ago by Jim and Tom Stout. The first facility was built in 1974 and employed 10 people. At present our facility is 354,800 square feet and employs over 650 people.

http://coastalpet.com

CONSUMER PRODUCTS Sylmark Inc The Sylmark Group is a group of affiliated integrated marketing companies founded in 1998 by industry pioneers who have collectively sold nearly $3 billion of consumer products to date. The Sylmark Group is a leading developer and multi-channel marketer of innovative consumer products. http://www.sylmark.com/submit_a_product.html


Million Dollar Cupcakes!

2 Oct

TOP GIRL of the month goes to Andra Hall

For Andra Hall, entrepreneurship was a matter of medical necessity. In 2004, her 1-year-old daughter underwent a string of surgeries to correct a severe case of sleep apnea. “I did major soul-searching to come up with something that would be flexible enough to let me be there when Camille needed me,” she recalls.

Settling on her longtime interest in baking, Hall created a business plan and by 2006, she and her husband, Curtis, refinanced their house to obtain the $40,000 they needed to launch CamiCakes Cupcakes (www.camicakes.com; 404-748-4288). The money allowed them to buy secondhand equipment, create marketing materials, and put down a security deposit on the Orange Park, Florida, space they would rent.

In 2008, another store opened in Jacksonville, Florida, and a third store the following year in Atlanta. CamiCakes, named for the couple’s daughter, generated $1.1 million in revenues in 2009 and anticipates $2 million by year-end. But Hall’s path to business ownership wasn’t all sweet.

With 18 cupcake flavors—the most popular being red velvet, sweet potato, and carrot cake—CamiCakes’ rapid growth was one of Hall’s greatest challenges.

The baking began each day at 6 a.m., and the doors were open to customers from 10:30 a.m. until 9 p.m.  When she opened the Georgia store, Hall drove the 350 miles between there and the Florida stores to oversee the baking and customer service in each store and handle all the paperwork. “I was just doing too much,” the 38-year-old recalls. “And then I got really, really sick and was down for more than two weeks.”

At that point, Hall knew she had to come up with a way to make sure each store could run without her constant attention. First, over the course of two months, she created a manual of operations so each store would have the same written standard operating procedures ranging from the recipes used to the steps to take if a register went down. “I’m more of a do er, so it was a challenge to have to stop and make sure everything was clearly documented for other people to understand,” Hall says.

Next, she chose one store to focus most of her energy on. Because Atlanta was the biggest market and the store there was the most profitable, Hall moved her family there and established it as CamiCakes’ headquarters. The third step, loosening the reins, was the hardest. Hall made the transition somewhat easier by hiring from within rather than seeking outsiders to manage the Florida stores. “I had faith that they could do the job,” she says.

Courtesy of BlackEnterprise.com

BLACK ENTERPRISE is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BLACK ENTERPRISE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers.

Black Enterprise is another one of the City Girl Business Club’s favorite magazines.

She Made Millions from Nail Polish!!!!

23 Jun

You’ve seen nail polish with colors like sky blue and winter green, but do you know who started the trend?

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of “Hard Candy Cosmetics”, but do you know the story behind it?

Hard Candy is the brainchild of  Dineh Mohajer.  Dineh was a 22 year old student when she came up with the idea. She enlisted the help of her sister Pooneh and her boyfriend Benjamin Einstein, and the three came up with $200 to buy some nail polish and supplies from the beauty store. One business plan, and a few sample shades later, they decided to pitch upscale fashion shop Fred Segal. While going through the pitch, a 16-year-old customer saw the shades and wanted all four instantaneously. The owner set the price at $18 a bottle on the spot and sold them to the demanding teenager. With no supplies left, Fred Segal placed an order with Dineh for 200 bottles that same day.

The company’s first product was nail polish that Dineh mixed herself – a shade of baby blue named “Sky” to match her sandals. In that same year, actress Alicia Silverstone appeared on the Late Night with David Letterman and, when asked about her pastel blue fingernails, replied, “It’s ‘Sky’ by Hard Candy,” causing an overnight explosion for the brand. Within approximately 2 years, the business grew to a $10-million-dollar company. Dineh kept the creative juices flowing by staying in touch with her target market of 15 to 25-year-olds. She created new mod shades called Porn, Trailer Trash and Jailbait. It wasn’t long before cosmetic giants had a contender and big companies took notice of this new cultural phenomenon.

Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), who owns Donna Karen, Givenchy, Sephora, TAG Heuer, and Veuve Clicquot acquired Hard Candy in 1999 for a reported $30 million. The acquisition afforded Hard Candy greater distribution and a brand to attach itself to. Hard Candy is now Urban Decay Cosmetics LLC dba Hard Candy. Dineh Mohajer, alongside Jeanne Chavez, recently left Hard Candy to form cosmetics brand Goldie. Benjamin Einstein is currently President of Einstein Cosmetics LLC.

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