The two-day Circular Summit is the brainchild of Alice’s founder, Carolyn Rodz, and its president, Elizabeth Gore. These two women have created a circle where female entrepreneurs can pitch, scale and learn about their businesses.
Circular Summit is non-stop workshops, panels and speakers. The quality of people there to help you on your entrepreneurial journey is incredible. The panelists were from every facet of business including one comprised of local women. There were politicians on hand to listen to obstacles that your company faced. Alice also invited venture capitalists and angel investors to connect with female entrepreneurs. And with a cap of 300 attendees, there was plenty of opportunities to network and ask questions.
But don’t take my word for it. Read about what I learned at Circular Summit and find out why you should take advantage of this opportunity when it comes to a location near you!
Talking Money At Circular Summit
Arlen Hamilton strives to provide venture capital to underserved women.
Did you know that only 2% of venture capital goes to women and .02% goes to women of color?
Her best advice was to “be hungry, not thirsty” when pitching ideas to investors. Similarly, Kathryn Finney hammered home the thought that “closed mouths don’t get fed, so open your mouth.”
To this end, Takia Ross said that she creates an alter-ego when she enters a room for a pitch. It helps give her confidence so that she “isn’t going to ask you for the money, you’re going to give it to me” because she is a boss.
Women, in general, have a tendency to LET things happen rather than MAKING them happen.
Entrepreneurship Is Messy, Don’t Go It Alone
Melissa Bradley spoke passionately about knowing what is a pivot and what is a distraction. A pivot moves your purpose forward or helps you to find your passion while a distraction takes you away from it. And when you aren’t sure what is what, you need a sponsor to help you.
Laurie Fabiano, the president of the Tory Burch Foundation feels strongly that there is a difference between a sponsor and a mentor. A mentor is there to answer your questions; a sponsor helps you succeed.
“Entrepreneurship is messy,” said Jonathan Ortmans, “You shouldn’t have to go it alone.”
There are people and resources available to you no matter where you live. Don’t forget that Alice is an AI platform that offers this service. Their job is to connect entrepreneurs to resources in an online setting.
Value Connection Over Transaction
Jen Gotch, the brains behind ban.do, wanted women to understand that you should “value connection over transaction.” And when focusing on your social media, you should do it organically; focus on people who agree with your product, don’t force connections.
That message was reiterated by Shay Johnson by emphasizing the need for entrepreneurs to tell their creation story. It connects you to your audience and makes your customer care about you and your product.
Startup Therapy When You Are Ready To Grow Your Business
One of the most beneficial segments of this conference was the “startup therapy” sessions. This was a time to get one-on-one with a sponsor who could offer advice on your business and help you in any way they can. Bunker Labs, the non-profit organization that helps military spouses grow their businesses, were on-hand as well as a few military spouses who have already paved they way in their field. This opportunity is worth the cost of admission!
How is this summit different from other conferences, you ask? I’ve gotten great advice and I’ve seen networking elsewhere, so why Circular Summit? They have all the bells and whistles you expect for the price of admission.
What really sets them apart is the intimacy.
One of the intimate practices is called the Giving Tree. You remember Shel Silverstein’s poem? This concept is based on that. You take a “leaf” and write what you would like. You add your business card to that leaf and wait. Then you look on the “tree” and find someone you can help; something you can GIVE.
But the most significant point is that the Circular Summit isn’t about passing around business cards and waiting to hear from people. As noted earlier, there are investors readily available to hear your elevator pitch. Plus you can participate in “therapy” sessions to receive advice. All of these points are key to success in business. It’s like a giant spouse’s group for work; you don’t just network, you build connections and friendships.
And for Alice, it’s all in a (two) day’s work.