Click into the web site of Springboard Enterprises, and what you’re likely to see first is telling: a woman climbs up onto a diving board, bounces a few times, and jumps. It’s an apt metaphor. In many ways, starting a business is like a scary dive. Jump into an industry or a community with “shallow” available funding, and you could get hurt. Or, to put it another way, when you’re hurtling toward the pool, head-down, you don’t know how cold that water might be.
That’s where Springboard comes in. It calls itself a “Venture Catalyst,” but no matter what you call it, Springboard Enterprises is poised to put female small business leaders in the driver’s seat for 2012. With over a decade of helping startups and other smaller enterprises to find critical funding, this company is still going strong, offering women in many different industries a chance to connect with interested investors and keep their books healthy.
Some of the biggest and most impressive numbers are posted directly on a prominent banner on Springboard’s web page. These stats include a total of over 5 billion dollars raised for over 400 small businesses. Springboard Enterprises also boasts a history of helping out with eight individual initial public offerings or IPOs, where a small business “goes public.” An IPO can be instrumental in helping a business leader to get more visibility, provide for future rounds of funding, and further establish a growing enterprise. The company also cites a total of over 10,000 jobs created, which should resonate with the large number of Americans and public officials searching everywhere for those elusive “job creators” who will help get the twenty-first century American economy back on track. Springboard staffers point to some companies with name recognition, like Zipcar and Constant Contact, as firms that grew based on a relationship with Springboard’s team.
Now Springboard, which just finished its fifth annual “Winner’s Circle Celebration Dinner,” is announcing a new campaign called Startup America Women which promises to bring more attention to female operated businesses across America. Executives say the aim is to make sure that a large number of women-led enterprises benefit from this targeted effort to match up investors with today’s small businesses. In addition, current programs at Springboard include a “venture forum” where past beneficiaries return to provide more input on the future of small business and how to face the challenges of a global economy.
As the face of American business becomes more female-friendly (and pundits spread rumors of an emerging “man-cession,”) more women are rising to the challenge of building a business from the ground up. For any of these leaders of new startups and enterprises who want to explore scaling capital bigger, or pinning down strategies for current and future funding, Springboard can help. It’s worth taking a look at the many ways that this advisory company is promoting fledgling women-led projects in an effort to help spur growth and give brave small business operators a fighting chance.