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First crowdfunding platform for women-led businesses in Boston launched

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WE BOS) today announced the launch of iFundWomen Boston.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WE BOS) today announced the launch of iFundWomen Boston, a local initiative of iFundWomen, the first crowdfunding platform for women-led businesses.

During a panel discussion with members of the venture capital and entrepreneurial community today, Mayor Walsh highlighted the need for strategic partners to invest in Boston's women-owned startups and businesses, and reaffirmed Boston's commitment to ensuring all business owners and entrepreneurs have the same access to investments and support. As part of that approach, the City's Women Entrepreneurs Boston program will work with iFundWomen to help funnel investment dollars to women entrepreneurs.

"Boston is home to a vast network of entrepreneurs, startups and thriving business -- and we are committed to ensuring women play a major role in our business success. One of the biggest barriers is the lack of investment funds going to women-owned businesses, so we're thrilled to welcome iFundWomen to Boston to help us move toward closing that gap," said Mayor Walsh. "This partnership is a big step forward in building upon the success of WE BOS and we're proud to offer this resource to help Boston's women entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level."

Applicants chosen to participate in the cohort will have the option to start their crowdfunding campaigns immediately and will have access to one-on-one business and crowdfunding coaching, as well as video production services to help them pitch their concepts and tell their stories. Campaigns that are fully funded by January 30, 2018 will be eligible to participate in the first-ever iFundWomen Pitch Competition in March, showcasing the top companies in the cohort and giving them the opportunity to raise even more startup capital.

"We're thrilled to partner with Mayor Walsh and WE BOS on iFundWomen Boston to raise money for local startups and to launch our first-ever pitch competition. iFundWomen is committed to supporting female entrepreneurs with the crowdfunding, coaching and connections they need to help raise cash for their businesses and to help them move to the next level," said iFundWomen CEO, Karen Cahn. "We're taking our programming one step further with the introduction of this regional pitch competition, encouraging the entrepreneurs who have successfully crowdfunded with us to then have the opportunity to pitch their businesses for a sizable cash prize."

The iFundWomen Boston initiative will work closely with WE BOS, a City of Boston program that advances women entrepreneurs by providing the resources and network they need to launch and grow their business. This new partnership is announced as part of Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WE BOS) Week 2017, a series of networking opportunities, educational workshops, panel discussions and coaching sessions with industry leaders and investors designed to support women entrepreneurs in Boston.

"Thirty five percent of our businesses are women-led in the City of Boston. These businesses employ 36,100 people and generate $3.3 billion in revenue, yet our startup community has been traditionally perceived as male dominated," said Kara Miller, WE BOS Program Manager. "The City is committed to making our startup ecosystem more inclusive of women to increase their economic potential. Having these intentional conversations within the venture capital community and launching iFundWomen Boston helps us ensure our entrepreneurs have the tools and resource to fund their businesses."

All women-led businesses in the region are strongly encouraged to apply here for the inaugural cohort. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

About iFundWomen

iFundWomen is the leading fundraising ecosystem for women-led startups and small businesses that offers crowdfunding, coaching, and connections specifically designed to help launch business ideas. Founded by a former Google/YouTube executive, Karen Cahn, the platform uniquely offers one-on-one crowdfunding coaching and video-production services to entrepreneurs. iFundWomen also has a pay-it-forward model and directly reinvests 20% of its standard fees into live projects on the site.

About Women Entrepreneurs Boston (WE BOS)

WE BOS is a City of Boston program designed to advance Boston's women entrepreneurs and create a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Since the launch of the program in 2015, over 3,000 women have participated in WE BOS through educational programming, one-on-one coaching, and curated networking opportunities. In partnership with the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement and the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, WE BOS supports all women entrepreneurs, including startups, home-based businesses and the established brick-and-mortar mainstays of Boston's neighborhoods, by providing them with the resources and network they need to launch and grow their businesses. Learn more on their website.

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