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Lauren Maillian Bias is a serial entrepreneur; she is the Founder and CEO of Luxury Market Branding, a strategic marketing company, and is a Founding Partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early stage venture firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer facing technology enabled companies.

At age 19, Lauren founded a boutique winery that quickly became an internationally recognized award-winning wine brand, making her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She served as the Chief Operating Officer of the company from inception through the brand’s acquisition in 2011.

Lauren often speaks about entrepreneurship, female leadership, marketing, branding, business development and early stage venture at various conferences. She has spoken at prestigious institutions including Harvard, Columbia University, Cornell and the University of Virginia. She is a large supporter of entrepreneurship and judges the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) business plan competition and the incoming classes of Start Up Chile, an incubator program in support of entrepreneurship sponsored by the Chilean Government. Lauren is an active advisor to several startups and is a mentor to the Women Innovate Mobile Accelerator.

The Global Pitch Competition at the We Own It SummitThe NextWomen Editorial Assistant Alyssa Davison reviews the Global Pitch Competition at the We Own It Summit, organised by Astia and The NextWomen.

Dare I proclaim that, with two events under my belt, I am well on my way to becoming a pitch veteran? The most recent event I attended, The Global Pitch Competition at the fourth annual We Own It Summit, really opened my eyes to how powerful a polished presentation can be. Read on to find out why...

Some context about the event itself: the Global Pitch Competition was the main event of the 2013 We Own It Summit, organised by Astia and The NextWomen. Competing for a cash prize of £20,000 (provided by the sponsors Technology Strategy Board, Microsoft and Astia Angel) five finalists had been selected to pitch their business models in front of six judges.

After earning her Stanford MBA in 1983, Heidi Roizen co-founded T/Maker, a personal computer company, on a leap of faith.  She was one of only a handful of women tech entrepreneurs at the time.

Following a successful exit, she served as VP of Worldwide Developer Relations at Apple, and then entered the venture world as Managing Director of Mobius Venture Capital in 1999.

She was elected to the Board of Directors at London-based global media company, DMGT, in 2012, making her the first female director in the company's 116-year history.

She is now a venture partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

The NextWomen LATAM Theme.

Marta Cruz is the Co-Founder & Director of NXTP Labs, an Latinamerica-based acceleration program with an early-stage fund, focusing on Spanish-speaking technology startups that are pursuing global or regional opportunities. NXTP provides seed funding, consulting services, hands-on advice, training and, access to a network of mentors across Latin America, the US and Europe.

Marta is also Co-Founder of digital agency Nextperience, where she currently serves as a Director.

Prior to these two ventures, Marta worked for more than 8 years at MRM Worldwide, the McCann Worldgroup digital agency, as Latam Regional Director, managing accounts likes of HP, Intel, Coca-Cola, GM, Hilton Hotel, Nortel and MasterCard

Marta’s introduction to entrepreneurialism began in 1979, when she founded with her husband, Ponchiarello, a men's clothing factory, focusing on the wholesale and retail business. Their decision to start manufacturing and selling uniforms for companies led them to develop their business on a large scale.

Clover Lewis reviews the recent The NextWomen Pitch Event and outlines some helpful tips for pitchpreneurs from the experts on the judging panel. 

You have a winning product or service, a killer business strategy, an exceptional team… and now you need investment to move your business to realise greater aims. How can you assure that when you have the opportunity to speak to ‘business angels’ and investors your content and delivery stand out enough to have them fund you?

By participating in The NextWomen’s Pitch Event, as either a guest or pitch-entrepreneur, you can get closer to perfecting your pitch monologue and have engaging dialogues with investors who may be in a position to offer capital to support business growth.

The NextWomen LATAM Theme.

As an Internet entrepreneur and investor, Fabrice Grinda has successfully transposed, adapted and invested in business ideas between the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America.

In March of 2006, Fabrice co-founded OLX, Inc. with business partner Alec Oxenford, in the hopes of building the largest free local classified site in the world. Until December 2012, as co-CEO, Fabrice drove the company’s business development, investor relations, M&A and product development efforts. OLX now has over 300 employees and is present in over 90 countries and 50 languages with over 150 million unique visitors per month.

Fabrice is also a prolific angel investor with over 100 active investments in various companies including Viajanet, Peopleperhour, Brightroll, and many others.

The NextWomen Career Theme: Venture Capital.

For this month’s theme, we will be interviewing a number of women from around the globe who have reached the top of the world’s most prestigious and/or male dominated professions. This is the story of Lila Ibrahim, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.

Lila Ibrahim is currently an Operating Partner and Chief of Staff at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and works across the firm’s digital and greentech portfolios, leading KPCB's business development efforts, key partnerships and strategic initiatives for the firm and its portfolio companies..

We are so excited to publish this 12-part series by angel investor Elizabeth Crowell, which will examine the various fundraising/financing options for starting and growing a business.

I wrote a provocative post a few months ago, titled "Go ahead and start a business, just use your credit card!" Sarcasm aside, as a business owner and angel investor, I am in the trenches of how businesses are financed and funded and as much I would like to report that as an entrepreneur you can choose to spend 100% of your time the way you wish, the truth is  you may well devote significant time and energy to securing capital over the life of your business.  And it's no newsflash that capital raising is a tremendously time-consuming aspect of launching and running a business, as many entrepreneurs will gladly complain to you.

But that doesn't mean you should pause in your quest to open your own business. Rather, it means you need to educate yourself about your options and wisely match your needs to market opportunities. Obviously, this is easier said than done, which is why NextWomen has asked me to outline the landscape for funding and financing for new businesses, soup to nuts, in a 12 article series.  So if you have thought about starting a business, or already have the game-changing idea spec’d out, it's high time you acquaint yourself with the financing and funding landscape.

Consider this series your map, as you wade into the ever-changing funding territory.

Guest article by Mike Lebus, co-founder of Angel Investment Network. Part of The NextWomen Africa Theme.

Africa has received a lot of interest from VC’s in the last few years as it continues to develop. The ever growing number of accelerators, tech hubs and angel networks appearing across Africa are further proof that entrepreneurship is flourishing in the region. The tech, web, mobile and telecommunications sectors in particular are showing tremendous growth and are attracting a lot of interest from venture capitalists. 

Here is a list of 15 venture capital firms (some home-grown and some foreign) looking to take advantage of the opportunities Africa has to offer.

The NextWomen Finance Theme.

Priyanka Gill is an angel investor, lifestyle blogger and journalist based in London.