Dr. Roshawnna Novellus is the Founder and CEO of EnrichHER, a financial technology platform that is fueling the growth of women-led businesses by enabling female founders to secure $30k-$70k of capital in an affordable and non-dilutive way. I had the honor chatting with Roshawnna about business capital, funding tips for small businesses, and what every woman entrepreneur should know before starting a business.
What inspired the start-up of EnRichHer?
RN: “There are many obstacles women face when trying to launch a business. One of them being access to capital. The reality is if you are not a stereotypical male in the business world, you are instantly marginalized by the proverbial glass ceiling. So, I launched EnrichHER. Because I didn’t want other women to hit the same roadblocks I faced. I took all the rejections, criticism, and doubt from others, and channeled that energy into making a way for other females.”
What the best piece of business advice you received while you were starting out?
RN: “To be mindful and present before making decisions about anything.”
What would you tell a future Entreprenuer or someone who is pursuing your line of work?
RN: “Do not let the opinions or doubts of others make you question yourself. Push through all limitations. You become what you think. Take it from someone who faced countless struggles with discrimination. Let the naysayers fuel your fire. Do not give up.”
What is your personal/professional motto?
RN:“We are entrepreneurs investing in entrepreneurs.”
As a keynote speaker in many events, do you ever get scared of public speaking? How do you overcome it?
RN: “Of course, I get a little nervous before speaking. I think that it is completely normal, which is how I overcome the feeling. Everyone, literally everyone, gets a little sense of stomach butterflies before public speaking. You’re not alone. Take a deep breath, and remember to speak slowly.”
What are some goals you have for 2019?
RN: “To continue shattering glass ceilings for women seeking access to capital. To grow by %500. To continue connecting investors with female entrepreneurs that are seeking business funding.”
What are some of your biggest highlights and what did you learn from them?
RN: “Since inception, EnrichHER has experienced over 19,000 engagements and featured 163 female founders who have collectively received over 10 Million in financing from investors, accelerators and grant opportunities. EnrichHER was also accepted into Techstars earlier this year, which is a huge accomplishment. From these accomplishments I learned with a great team, and hard, consistent work, you can achieve your goals.”
What are some golden funding tips for women starting a business?
RN: “Plan, plan, plan! For marketing, press, and a Q&A for potential investors/backers. It takes work. You can’t build the campaign and expect people to come. You have to gain support before you go live with your funding campaign. Take time to understand the marketplace and be clear in the problem your business is going to solve. This includes identifying target buyers in advance, and building your business based on how to meet their needs. Craft your pitch as a story which clearly articulates your company’s goals and mission, and the steps you’ll take to get there.”
In moments of adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
RN: “We all have critics. You wouldn’t be doing something big if you didn’t. When I hear pushback, or negative talk about the mission I’m on, I use this as fuel. I may take into consideration what someone says, in case it can be turned into constructive criticism, but I trust my team, and most importantly, myself. Staying resilient is how I build myself back up.”
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is paving an easier way for females who are trying to build their legacy. Every time I can help a women-led business succeed, I believe that I’m fulfilling my purpose. I believe that providing capital for women-led businesses provides economic empowerment, inclusive economic growth, and overall gender equality.”
About Dr. Roshawnna Novellus
Dr. Novellus is a gender equality advocate who believes in economic empowerment and inclusive economic growth. Dr. Novellus holds a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering, with a Minor in Finance, a Masters of Science in Information Technology emphasizing Information System Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management Economics, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering – achieving Summa Cum Laude in each. Dr. Novellus has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, and Huffington Post. She has also completed the Pipeline Angels Fellowship, a Kauffman program in angel investing. Roshawnna served on the Commission on Women for the City of Atlanta and was honored as one of the Women Who Means Business by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, one of the 40 Under 40 by Georgia Trend, and as a Halcyon Fellow for Social Impact.
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