How a sexist comment led to a $250 million company | Study: Limited capital hurts businesses owned by black women | Mark Cuban supports women-led companies
October 12, 2016
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How a sexist comment led to a $250 million company
Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky says that after her father died, a sexist comment about her ability to lead his company was what drove her to expand it into a $250 million business. She recently spoke to a group of women founders about the experience and discussed how better access to loans and financing, network building and mentorship programs are needed to help more women. (10/6) 
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Business Trends
Study: Limited capital hurts businesses owned by black women
Access to capital is a key factor preventing businesses owned by black women from achieving the same growth in revenue as those owned by black men, finds a study from the National Women's Business Council. This limited capital starts with low median net worth prior to the venture, the report says, adding that the average black family would need 288 years to accumulate the wealth held by a typical white household.
Inc. online (free registration) (10/5) 
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Mark Cuban supports women-led companies
"Shark Tank" investor Mark Cuban is speaking out about the importance of investing in women-led companies and getting more women in Silicon Valley. "It's easy to invest in smart women, and so I try to do it as often as possible," Cuban said.
The Observer (London) (10/5) 
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Being a woman still a barrier to startup funding
Women struggle to get startup funding as a result of entrenched biases in the venture capital industry, writes Sarah Kunst, founder and CEO of Proday. If people responsible for deploying capital can't see beyond their personal biases, she writes, "they should be replaced with investors who put their fiduciary duties above their emotions."
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (10/7) 
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Small Business Spotlight
Lauren Conrad builds nonprofit to help women in developing nations
Lauren Conrad builds nonprofit to help women in developing nations
Conrad (Bryan Steffy/Getty Images)
Reality TV star and designer Lauren Conrad founded The Little Market several years ago with her friend Hannah Skvarla to benefit fair-trade women artisans in developing nations. "People can buy our products and feel good that no one in the US can get rich off of them," Skvarla said.
Forbes (10/7) 
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Social Media Buzz
Facebook launches Workplace platform
Facebook launches Workplace platform
(Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images)
Facebook has officially made its Workplace tool available to all businesses, with additional features such as multi-company groups and live video expected in the coming weeks. The platform, a direct competitor to Slack and HipChat, is available at no charge to nonprofits and educational institutions.
Business Insider (10/10),  ZDNet (10/10),  eWeek (10/10) 
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NAWBO (R) News
Didi Discar named Woman Business Owner of the Year
Didi Discar, principal of Carling Communications Inc., awarded the Woman Business Owner of the Year at NAWBO's 2016 Women's Business Conference.

In Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 19-20, Didi Discar, NAWBO San Diego Chapter, was recognized for her creative initiatives to overcome obstacles, create jobs, grow a successful business and inspire community involvement.

"Having benefited from trailblazing businesswomen throughout my career," said Discar, "I am absolutely committed to building an enterprise that other female entrepreneurs can be proud of, even emulate, while doing everything I can to create opportunities, foster support, and promote recognition for other female business leaders."

The Woman Business Owner of the Year award is open to NAWBO entrepreneurs who own at least 25% of their business and actively run the day-to-day operations. The 2017 Woman Business Owner of the Year will be announced at Together We Dare in Minneapolis, Oct. 15-17, 2017.
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Salesforce offers customer service via messaging apps
Retailers' customer support personnel will be able to help customers across a variety of messaging apps with Salesforce's new LiveMessage. The feature, part of the Salesforce Service Cloud, brings to business the kind of text-based communication via messaging apps that consumers use among themselves, said CEO Marc Benioff.
VentureBeat (10/5) 
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Best Practices
The CEO's job is to take responsibility, not praise
Gratitude, deflection of praise and ownership of failures are leadership qualities espoused by Kim Townsend, CEO and president of Loretto, a post-acute health care system based in New York. "If you're in the leadership position, people look to you, and sometimes they give you disproportionately more credit than you deserve," she says.
The Post-Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) (10/5) 
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Use empathy to get past work conflicts
Work conflicts can be fixed quickly when empathy and forgiveness are emphasized, according to a study. Offering forgiveness to a transgressor who seeks it can help to resolve the bad feelings that arise from conflicts, said Gabrielle Adams, an assistant professor at London Business School.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (10/8) 
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The women camoufleurs of World War I
The Women's Reserve Camouflage Corps was a U.S. Army-commissioned group of women artists who tested camouflage outfits in New York City parks during World War I, as this article depicts using photos from the National Archives. The women also developed and mastered a form known as "dazzle camouflage" to make ships less easily detectable by German U-boats.
Atlas Obscura (10/6) 
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A career is built one paragraph at a time. ... I don't know any shortcuts. But if you're really a writer, that's no problem, because you'd rather be writing than anything else.
Barbara Kingsolver,
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About NAWBO®
Founded in 1975, NAWBO® propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide. Thirty years later, NAWBO® is still the only organization that solely represents the interest of women entrepreneurs in all industries. NAWBO® and Women Mean Business™ are registered trademarks of the National Association of Women Business Owners. For more information, please visit
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