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Introducing Lendahand - a crowdfunding platform for Small to Medium sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) in upcoming economies. 

Megan Foo, Editorial Assistant and Regular Contributor of The NextWomen, talks about the importance of furthering economic opportunity for women in the developing world, highlighting the efforts of Shining Hope for Communities to promote women's economic empowerment in the Nairobi slums in Kenya.

I’ve always loved this Amartya Sen quote: “Empowering women with more choices and more freedoms is crucial to achieving a better future for all.” If there is a catalyst to development and increased overall well-being, I believe that it lies in the empowerment of women and girls. In addition to fortifying women with more choices and freedoms in areas like education, healthcare, and nutrition, I think that one of the most powerful ways to expedite “a better future for all” is to give women greater economic freedom and opportunities.

Georgina-Kate Adams, Founder of The Seed, Africa,with a girl whose education was funded through the project. Megan Foo of The NextWomen examines the issue of the lack of access to education for girls in developing countries. Megan talks to Georgina-Kate Adams, Founder of crowdfunding project The Seed, Africa, regarding the impact of educating girls through crowdfunding.

Alexandra Anghel offers advice on when it's the right decision to say no to an investor.

We have all heard the horror stories about how difficult it is to raise money, especially in Europe.

Investors are used to saying no a lot and most of the time they have a valid reason for doing so. Not the right market, not the right product, not the right team.  

So what do you do when you (finally!) get one of them to say yes? Do you analyze if they are the right match for your startup or if you have good chemistry? And when you get your hands on one of those coveted term sheets and it’s not exactly what you expected, do you consider saying NO to them?

Manchester-based Rormix has secured investment from The North West Fund for Digital & Creative. Rormix helps users to discover music videos by independent and emerging artists via a mobile app and Youtube multi-channel network.

Did you know that women entrepreneurs who get their business funded are 12% more efficient than male entrepreneurs, using an average of 33% less capital? In addition, the number of women with freely available assets totalling more than €1 million is growing. This untapped potential in female investors and entrepreneurs is the reason why the Next Women have started a new fund, “The Next Women Crowd Fund”.

The viral nature of the Internet helps founders secure a larger amount of investment. In the 8th part of her insightful series about funding, Elizabeth Crowell examines crowdfunding as a source of investment. To read Part 7 of the series, about sourcing investment from friends and family, click here.

FamilyIn the 7th part of her excellent series about funding, Elizabeth Crowell looks at networking and approaching friends and family as a source of investment. To read Part 6 of the series, about Venture Capital, click here.

We started this series talking about bootstrapping, and in short order progressed to the rarefied world of venture capital. But I want to take a step back, and remind founders about a potential source for funding: their friends and family. And although I discovered a roughly 50-50 split among entrepreneurs and investors advising for and against friends and family funding, the numbers speak for themselves. “According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (Babson & London School of Economics), upwards of $50-$75 billion dollars is invested annually by friends and family in US startups. That is about 2 to 3 times the amount invested by venture capitalists and angels annually” (Bill Payne & Associates – Enabling Entrepreneurs). Clearly, it's an option to consider.

In the 6th part of her excellent series about funding, Elizabeth Crowell looks at venture capital, a source of investment which is often talked about, but frequently misunderstood. To read Part V of the series, about angel funding, click here.

Need more dollars than an angel round can bring? Your business might be right for venture capital. These two words solicit a host of reactions, but venture capital is a vital part of the funding ecosystem, meeting the needs of a small group of companies every year.

Great news, an investment fund which explicitly states that it wants to invest in female entrepreneurs. Time to talk! The Next Women talked to Dave Richards, Founder & Managing Partner of Unitus Seed Fund.

Dave Richards is an experienced entrepreneur, executive and global early-stage investor.  He has been an early investor in microfinance and other emerging market sector businesses serving BoP (low-income) populations. Dave has been involved with the Unitus Group since 2005, helping to lead efforts to select and invest in BoP entrepreneurs in many developing countries.

Previously, Dave developed multiple high-growth technology businesses at RealNetworks, Sybase and Symantec from startup to multiple hundred million dollar global enterprises. He also is a partner with Social Venture Partners Seattle and leads the Social Innovation Fast Pitch startup angel fund. We spoke to Dave about investing in India; his thoughts on microfinance; and why Unitus Seed Fund is specifically looking for female entrepreneurs to invest in.