The Feasibility of a Women-Focused Incubator and Accelerator in Los Angeles.
Released: March 2019
NONPROFIT WE ARE ENOUGH RELEASES STUDY RECOMMENDING CREATION OF WOMEN-FOCUSED HYBRID
INCUBATOR IN LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES, March 27, 2019 – We Are Enough (WAE), a fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, has completed a new JPMorgan Chase-funded feasibility study that recommends the creation of a Los Angeles-based, women-focused incubator called the Los Angeles Incubator and Accelerator (LAIA, pronounced Lay-uh). The study, Creating LAIA: The Feasibility of a Women-Focused Incubator and Accelerator in Los Angeles, highlights the need for a new hybrid organization that is both incubator and accelerator which will give crucial support to the growing number of women-owned businesses (WOBs) in the Los Angeles region. This feasibility study acts as a road map for next steps that includes creating a business plan and conducting further research on funding models and innovative programming.
“We are coming to the end of Women’s History Month, but a month ‘thinking of and honoring’ women is not going to change the structural inequities female entrepreneurs face,” says Tracy Gray, Founder of We Are Enough. “Women need sustained support that works for women. Men designed the present system and it works really well for them, but the numbers prove that the system does not work for the majority of women.”
The study cites previous research underlying how U.S. WOBs are underfunded, causing 88% to never reach revenues over $100,000. Consequently, when female founders receive outside capital, they see 63% higher revenues than their male counterpoints. Creating LAIA notes that a further 90% of women’s income goes back to their families and community, compared with 35% by men. If women received the same level of capital as men, research from Babson College projects that approximately six million jobs would be created, thus reducing the gender equity gap.
“Supporting women-led businesses and entrepreneurs is vital for sustainable job creation, economic growth and broader financial inclusion in our local communities,” says Diedra Porche, Senior Vice President and Market Manager in Los Angeles for JPMorgan Chase. “The current direction of gender diversity across all levels of business needs to improve. Having strong-based support networks not only amplifies the successes of current women-led businesses, it also encourages more women to launch their own businesses.”
“With my experience in the capital markets and after completing this study, it is apparent that the lack of capital for women business owners not only hurts the businesses but also the greater Los Angeles economy,” states study author and WAE Executive Director, Delilah Panio. “To have the greatest impact, LAIA must include investment in these businesses.”
The study also draws on earlier research from the 2012 U.S. Economic Census that found that 38% of Los Angeles County businesses are women-owned, the majority owned by women of color. Also according to the U.S. Census, the average revenues per LA WOB was just $142,378, with 90.5% being sole entrepreneurs with no paid employees. Creating LAIA concludes that combined with the national data, LA WOBs also rarely reach revenues over $100,000. Additionally, the study cites previous research that found companies that went through an acceleration program raised eight times the amount of capital. However, women represent only 14% of the businesses in incubators and accelerator programs (I&As). For women of color, the numbers are substantially lower.
There are a variety of organizations, programs and co-working spaces that target WOBs in LA, for example the Women’s Founders Network (WFN). However, there is no formal acceleration program with a physical space that is comparable with those provided by legacy I&As.
“The support and mentorship from WFN has enabled me to take my company to the next level,” says Farah Allen, Founder & CEO of The Labz, a WFN Fast Pitch Finalist. “But more long term and sustained support and capital is what every entrepreneur needs but is elusive for women, especially women of color like me.”
The study also recommends that LAIA include programming based on the best practices of incubators and accelerators nationally and internationally, and service businesses throughout all growth stages and industries. Most importantly, the new hybrid should be inclusive, attracting ethnically diverse women entrepreneurs by recruiting diverse leaders and partners.
“Women-focused programs are important because men have their own perceptions of women-owned businesses, meaning that they might think that some companies might not be needed,” says Mattea Bellomo, who attends middle school and is a WFN Fast Pitch Junior Judge. “It’s more motivating for women and girls to hear from other females about what can be done.”
Although this study focuses on the LA region, Creating LAIA can be used as a foundation to create women-focused incubators anywhere.
About We Are Enough
Based in Los Angeles, We Are Enough (WAE) is a nonprofit organization whose sole goal is to educate women globally, at every socioeconomic level and of all ages, on WHY and HOW to invest in women-owned businesses and/or with a gender lens. WAE will be launching programming and a campaign this year to activate women globally to invest in women. During commission of the Creating LAIA study, WAE was a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (SEE). WAE is now a fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.JPMorganChase.com
About the Entertainment Industry Foundation
Founded in 1943, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) is a multifaceted organization that occupies a unique place in the world of philanthropy. By mobilizing and leveraging the powerful voice and creative talents of the entertainment industry, as well as cultivating the support of organizations (public and private) and philanthropists committed to social responsibility, EIF builds awareness and raises funds, developing and enhancing programs on the local, national and global level that facilitate positive social change. For more information, visit http://www.eifoundation.org.