Good morning, Broadsheet readers. Europe now has a new most powerful woman in banking, and the FTSE 100 just got another female CEO. Read on to hear about a new funding opportunity for women-led startups. Have a great Thursday!
• Ana Patricia Botín joins elite group. The daughter of Banco Santander’s late chairman Emilo Botín will succeed her father, after his sudden death on Tuesday from a heart attack. Botin, 53, is the fourth generation of the Botin family to lead Banco Santander, but sources say nepotism had little to do with the appointment. She is the first woman to chair a global financial organization and joins six other female leaders of major banks around the world.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Source: NFL had Ray Rice video all along. Several months ago, a law enforcement official sent NFL officials the video of the former Baltimore Ravens running back punching his then-fiancee, a source told the AP. League execs still claim they did not see the graphic video until this week. Meanwhile, The National Organization for Women is calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.
• A new queen at Kingfisher. Veronique Laury has been named CEO of Kingfisher, Europe’s largest home improvement retailer. Laury, who previously ran Kingfisher’s French unit, will become the fifth female CEO of a FTSE 100 company.
• This is the New Establishment. Vanity Fair released its annual power ranking of leaders in tech, entertainment, finance and politics. This year’s list includes “Disrupters” like Google’s Susan Wojcicki, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Re/Code’s Kara Swisher. The ranking also includes so-called “Powers That Be” like Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé and Sandra Bullock.
• Who needs outside investment? Female entrepreneurs who participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative often succeeded in growing sales and creating jobs without the help of outside capital, according to a recent survey. Goldman started 10,000 Women in 2008 to assist women business owners in emerging economies. Within 18 months of graduating from the program, survey respondents said their revenues jumped by an average of 480%.
Former Build-A-Bear CEO: It takes a village to raise a bear
Maxine Clark is the founder and former CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, and she mentors high school girls of military families through Fortune’s Most Powerful Women program. She also is managing partner of Prosper, an angel network that just launched a startup accelerator program that will award $600,000 in equity funding for women-led and women-run startups in the St. Louis region.
Clark shared with The Broadsheet her thinking behind the new accelerator initiative. Edited excerpts:
CF: What was your inspiration to launch the accelerator program?
MC: Just look at the numbers. Right now, women account for half of the businesses in America, and they run them on less capital than their male counterparts. They are starting some of the most innovative and imaginative businesses out there, but they aren’t getting funding from venture capitalists. We want to change that by improving the pipeline for funding for female entrepreneurs. Being the founder and former CEO at Build-A-Bear, I’ve been a successful women entrepreneur. I always say it takes a village to raise a bear, and I want to help lead the next generation of female entrepreneurs in our community.
It seems like there are a lot of big institutions now focusing on funding women-led companies. Why now?
The real question isn’t why now, but why NOT now. Women are a powerful force in our economy and institutions big and small are realizing the value of diversity of thought and experience and the attractive financial performance indicators that a company can experience with a diverse management team. To add to that, women influence more than 70% of all consumer sales, they have ideas and insights that can make millions but they need the encouragement of mentorship and the appropriate investment of money.
What are some of the main barriers preventing women from accessing capital?
The main barrier preventing women from accessing capital is confidence. This is particularly relevant in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. Women-led businesses are not seeking funding in the numbers that their male counterparts are. There is also a lack of understanding of many products and services that women-led businesses create on the part of the investors, since, today, most are still men. I spent my career in business making contacts with bankers, investors and financial experts. I knew where to go and how to evaluate the impact an investor can have on a company.
How can we get to a point where gender-focused funding groups are no longer necessary?
We hope all funding groups will eventually become more gender-focused, in that they will see the attractive investment thesis behind the asset class of diverse management teams. And research shows that women-led businesses are the strongest performing diverse management teams. Initiatives such as ours will undoubtedly bring in more women investors, which will also create more gender equity in early stage capital markets than we see today. And helping create more successful companies, well, that’s our ultimate goal.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Serena Williams rocks Beats by Dre’s new ad. Need some inspiration to get your Thursday going? Click the link.
• Why the tech sector struggles to close the gender gap. Gender intelligence experts Barbara Annis and Keith Merron talk with NBC News about the “enlightened denial” that some tech companies find themselves in when it comes to diversity. “Companies fall into this initiative frenzy, window-dressing, and this recruitment push, with the assumption that if they just go out there and recruit more women, time will take care of it,” says Annis.
• A female-friendly online dating platform? Married couple Jess and Ken Deckinger think they have the ultimate recipe for an online dating app geared specifically toward women. On the new site, Jess, Meet Ken, women can recommend eligible men they know and then single women on the site can then reach out to the man himself or to the woman who vouched for him.
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|It was the obvious choice. She’s smart, she’s savvy, she works hard, and she’s devoted her career to Santander. I can’t imagine anyone better qualified.|
|-- Sheila Bair, former chair of the FDIC and a Santander board member, on Ana Patricia Botín|