CREW Boston

Entrepreneur Exchange Virtual Brown Bag Lunch

Women-owned businesses are growing 2x faster than the national average, yet they receive just 16% of all conventional business loans.
On March 20th, CREW Boston's Entrepreneur Exchange group was joined by Emily Mattes from First Women's Bank, based in Chicago, which is focused on the mission of supporting women-owned and small businesses. Being women-led as a lender is unique, and gives First Women's Bank a different lens when selecting their clients and lending opportunities. Giving an overview of the gender lending gap and women's 42% Market Share, Emily notes it's crucial to work with a business banker that understands your business and aligns with your needs and goals. 
"You need to find a banker who finds as much joy in watching you succeed as you."
Emily covered a lot of ground, from the basics of banking relationships to access to capital. Here are a few takeaways:
  • Review a bank's service model, how they communicate, their focus when selecting a relationship. You're looking for a bank with options to fit your needs. Women-led businesses tend to use personal credit for too long -- often for the life of the business -- because they don't access commercial capital. Simply having a business credit account can facilitate future lending and financing, AND offers protection of your personal assets.
  • Carefully evaluate the cost of selling equity vs available debt instruments. Match your debt instrument to the length of time the money is needed. Lines of credit should be for short term needs. Long-term, fixed rate debt options are appropriate for long-held assets.
  • The right banking relationship should be able to serve you through various phases of your business. SBA financing is often used for startups, which tend to meet resistance from traditional banks, particularly for female applicants. If you work with a bank that specializes in SBA lending, they'll guide you in how to streamline that process.
  • Do not "fake it 'til you make it!" 
If you're interested in learning more about lending, investments, or savings instruments available, and potentially building a new banking relationship, reach out to Emily. She's a CREW Chicago member, so you could even apply for a CREW Network Impact Award!

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Confirmed Attending

  • Rebecca Bachand
  • Daria Bukesova
  • Eliza Datta
  • Tatyana Drobov
  • Pam Fisher
  • Shelly Gouin
  • Taylor Handy
  • Janay Hull
  • Leslie Kivitz
  • Maureen Maas
  • Krista Manna
  • Emily Mattes
  • Ashley Morris
  • Noreen O'Toole
  • Molly Pidgeon
  • Briana Pinheiro
  • Lisa Serafin
  • Mariela Stoyanova
  • Lynne Sweet
  • Kiara Vazquez
  • Kim Walters