Meet iFundWomen Nashville, a crowdfunding platform for women-led businesses

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    Given our own professional lives, everyone on our team is especially inspired by and supportive of independent businesspeople in Nashville, from entrepreneurs to freelancers and independent contractors. As a women-run Nashville real estate team, we also have a special place in our hearts for other women-led businesses, and those who support them.

    That’s why we were particularly excited to hear about the launch of iFundWomen Nashville, a local contingent of a growing, Northeast-bred crowdfunding platform that gives us a chance to directly contribute to women-led businesses in our community.

    There are plenty of crowdfunding options out there already, from Kickstarter to Gofundme. But this one stands apart in its focused, specific intent: “to close the extreme funding and confidence gap that exists today for female entrepreneurs.” The iFundWomen team also plays a more direct role in the success of their platform’s projects, too, reinvesting 20 percent of service fees into active campaigns and offering assistance to its on-the-rise entrepreneurs, like help with video production and crowdfunding coaching.

    A concise explanation of why iFundWomen exists:

    “The number of women-owned businesses grew 30% from 2007-2012, which means that women are majority owners in roughly 36% of all US businesses. Despite these amazing gains, women still only receive 2-6% of venture capital funding. Female entrepreneurs need to be scrappier and work harder than our male counterparts to get funded. We create companies with 50% less capital. We want to change that.”

    That’s an inspiring goal, and one we can certainly get behind. We have good company, too: Nashville Mayor Megan Barry showed her iFundWomen support by partnering with the organization to get iFundWomen Nashville off the ground.

    You’ll find all kinds of businesses in the iFundWomen national mix, from emerging apps to filmmakers, broken down by industry. Nashville’s is the first city-focused part of the platform, and although it only officially launched this week, Nashville entrepreneurs and doers already make up an impressive part of the whole.

    No surprise: In our creative Middle Tennessee hub, the great ideas are plentiful.

    We’ve been digging into the fund-able Nashville startups on iFundWomen Nashville, and a bunch have caught our attention already. Here are a few of our early favorites:

     

     

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    Merry Beth Myrick Designs 

    If you’ve seen the way we designed our East Nashville office, this won’t surprise you, but everyone on our team has an affinity for a particular aesthetic: organic textures mixed with sophisticated lines. So, that in mind, we can’t help but fall in love with East Nashville-based jewelry designer Merry Beth Myrick’s work. She uses sterling silver, copper, leather and rough-cut stones — almost entirely sourced from the U.S. — and creates pieces that are a blend of elegance and earthiness, all completely unique. (Check out Merry Beth Myrick’s designs, and her funding page.)

     

     

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    Art School

    Nashville native Allison Jarrett launched this business to open contemporary art education up to everyone and anyone. It’s currently focused on local private lessons, workshops and parties, but her expansion idea that’s up for funding: to ride the subscription-box wave, and offer creative students in and out of Nashville the chance to grab an art class in a box, with materials, demos, learning prompts and educational information. It sounds really fun, especially if you have kids or teens you’d like to see inspired.

     

     

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    Twigs + Roots 

    If you’re someone who puts a premium on keeping chemicals off your body and out of your home as much as possible, you might find kindred spirits in the women behind chemical-free body-care business Twigs + Roots. Everything that goes into their products is organic, plant-based and carefully curated, then hand-blended into deodorant, sunscreen, vapor rub and more.

     

     

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    Frisson Soft Serve Gelato Truck 

    We like local food trucks, we like gelato — hard to go wrong here. Frisson Soft Serve is promising creative and delicious-sounding menu items, including a “Salty de Leche” cone with pretzels, caramel and a pinch of salt, and “The NashVegas,” doused with cotton candy. With this crowdfunding effort, they’re hoping to expand to include vegan and dairy-free options. Feel like kicking the tires before you invest? The truck is hosting a grand opening at the Shops at Porter East in East Nashville on Sunday, April 2.

     

    There’s lots more to look at and invest in there, from fashion lines to a basketball team. Head to the iFundWomen Nashville site to explore and help expand the women-led business landscape in Nashville.

    If you end up backing a business, let us know — we’d love to hear what you’re inspired by. And if you’re a local entrepreneur/small business owner looking for the right Nashville neighborhood to set roots in, we’d be thrilled to help. Call or email ACRE, and tell us what you’re looking for.

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