An increasing number of women are deciding to become entrepreneurs, but many of them continue fighting an uphill battle. Unfortunately, women still face a lot of obstacles when starting a business, things that men don’t even have to worry about.
For instance, studies show that while women-owned businesses are on the rise, these startups receive less funding than businesses led by men. Kumari Fulbright wants to put an end to this norm by educating women on how to position their business in a way that makes it more attractive to investors.
Obstacles for women-led startups
First, it’s important to realize why women need more support when it comes to building a business. In many cases, women tend to get overlooked no matter how excellent their credentials may be. In a professional setting, the voices of women are left ignored while those of men are considered influential. This prevalent trend has led to more and more women quitting their jobs and deciding to start their own business.
Countless women have experienced being in a corporate meeting and suggesting a solution to a particular problem, yet their ideas aren’t acknowledged. But as soon as a man suggests the same idea, everybody seems to agree in a snap. This just goes to show the severe lack of trust in women in general, specifically in male-dominated workplaces. What’s worse is that this extends to women entrepreneurs, with most of them struggling to get enough funding to launch a new company.
In 2015, more women earned an associate’s degree than men, marking a difference of 9 percentage points. That’s a considerable figure, but the numbers do not seem to back it up in the corporate setting. Research shows that women only make about 70 cents to the dollar earned by their male counterparts. What’s more, they do not rise up the corporate ladder as quickly and easily as men. The National Women’s Business Council also shows that women-owned businesses only received 2 percent of equity funding compared to 18 percent for men-led businesses.
Where does the problem lie?
It’s worth identifying the root of the problem. Clearly, women can be just as capable as men in terms of being a successful entrepreneur. But society, in general, has yet to completely recognize the many things women bring to businesses. They have been proven superior when it comes to multi-tasking, building better relationships with customers, and empathizing with them. All this can have a direct impact on a business’ bottom line. But another problem is the fact that people haven’t been taught how exactly to support women wanting to build a successful business venture.
This is where Kumari Fulbright comes in. At 35 years old, this self-made entrepreneur has always had a passion for building a business, with her first experience dating back to her college years when she founded Princess Productions. This event planning company introduced her to the business world, where she has experienced for herself the different obstacles blocking the road toward success for women. She has been mocked and laughed at, but she has worked tirelessly to become the woman she is right now.
The Freedom Initiative Project
The collective experience of Kumari Fulbright ultimately led her to found the Freedom Initiative Project. This not-for-profit organization has allowed her to reach out to aspiring women entrepreneurs who do not seem to know where to get help for launching their business. Kumari serves as the voice for these women, sharing her past experiences to inspire other women to pursue their dreams.
Many women feel unheard when they come up with great ideas, but Kumari says this is no reason to stay quiet. She encourages women to speak up and let their voices be heard. It’s important to amplify the point to make sure that those around them fully understand what they’re trying to communicate. Keeping quiet would only make the situation worse, which is why women are urged to do what they think is right to prove their worth.
Kumari also highlights the importance of women supporting other women. She shares that she’s saddened whenever women try to pull each other down. As an advocate for women, she wants everyone to realize the value in helping one another climb up the ranks, be it in the corporate setting or in the realm of business.
The Freedom Initiative Project also provides mentorship programs to guide women through every step of the way. This proves particularly helpful for women who have no prior experience in starting a business. They are given training materials to educate them on how to gather funding, market their business, and maintain healthy relationships with their customers.
All this is made possible by Kumari’s vast experience in the business world. She has worked with multiple companies, including a Dallas based public affairs firm where she worked with women-owned businesses in securing government contracts. This is no easy feat, but even a relatively new company can be successful by using the right marketing techniques.
The organization also helps their members expand their social network and leverage it to reach more donations, prospective investors and clients. They teach women how to spread their business through word-of-mouth, traditional marketing, and social media posting. This is a low-cost method of promoting their products and services, allowing them to get their message across to their target audience even with a small budget.
What’s next for Kumari?
Kumari Fulbright has dedicated her entire life helping other women tackle their problems with determination, confidence, and passion. She believes that it is only a matter of time before the gender gap in the business world finally closes. Although the Freedom Initiative Project is fairly new, Kumari is supported by all of its members in dealing with the obstacles women face as they try to build their entrepreneurial careers.
To learn more about the mission of the Freedom Initiative Project, visit their website at freedominitiativeproject.org. You can keep up with the latest updates from Kumari Fulbright by following her on Facebook and Twitter.