Crowdfunding has taken off, allowing people to raise funds to cover a personal tragedy or launch a new business venture. When it comes to entrepreneurship, however, it’s often still a man’s world. Jen Jones and Cynthia Hornig, founders of the digital brand Women You Should Know, experienced that as they grew their businesses.
“We know, firsthand, that one of the biggest roadblocks to setting an idea into motion, particularly for women, is capital,” Jones says.
In addition to their own experience, they also regularly received requests from crowdfunding campaigns that wanted to be featured on Women You Should Know. They realized that WYSK had the reach and community engagement to really help female entrepreneurs looking to fund, so they launched their own crowdfunding platform: Women You Should Fund.
Jones says although the idea sounds obvious, it has big potential.
“Women supporting women may sound simple, but it’s the powerful principle we’ve lived by, preached, and cultivated over the last six years in building a thriving Women You Should Know brand and community,” she says. “Through our work, we’ve seen and covered the incredible things that happen when women-led invention meets the mighty dollar.”
The site launched unofficially in March with the #BringHarrietHome campaign, which raised more than $32,000 to purchase a rare photo of Harriet Tubman and donate it to The Harriet Tubman House, a historical site that honors the abolitionist.
Next the site raised nearly $80,000 to finance the documentary "Big Sonia," about Sonia Warshawski, a Holocaust survivor and business owner who is now 91-years-old.
“She’s a real-life Wonder Woman because she’s an all-around badass with a powerful message and her impact-filled story deserves its time on big screens everywhere,” Jones says.
Any woman living in the United States can submit a campaign for consideration. The team reviews the application and works with the campaign creator to put her story forward in the most compelling way.
“We’ve heard all levels of frustration, confusion, and disappointment from women, especially first-time crowd funders, running campaigns on some of the largest platforms,” Jones says. “They need guidance; they need a hand-in-hand partner; they need their stories told to the right audience — a curated community vs a ‘crowd.’ But they're not getting any of it in most cases.”
Women You Should Fund gives guidance and also taps into a community of women who are active and motivated to support their peers.
“What we’ve created with Women You Should Fund is a bridge that connects the power of women-led innovation and women-driven investment,” Jones says.
She says that when women support women, the result is mutually-beneficial empowerment.
“It creates a connection between the backer and a growing force of women doers, creators, innovators, change-makers and thought leaders. It’s an active contribution to the health of a dynamic and diverse ecosystem,” she says. “It also lets women seize the opportunity to invest their own money in women-powered ideas and ventures that not only speak to them, but that can impact the world in big and small ways. Now more than ever, if women don’t support each other who will?”