Ingrid Vanderveldt means business when it comes to empowering people – especially women. She is the founder of Empowering a Billion Women by 2020 (EBW 2020).
Ingrid is no stranger to startups. She’s been and entrepreneur, an investor, a leader and an influencer for years.
We got a chance to sit down with her and learn what drives her and what she aims to accomplish with her ambitious EBW 2020 project.
You’ve had a colorful career. Can you tell me a little bit about your background, and what motivates you?
I am a tech and finance entrepreneur and former business television host from CNBC. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed the challenges that women and diverse entrepreneurs face. For women, there is a very distinct set of challenges.
The first time I went to raise money I was told I wouldn’t get it done. The reason? I didn’t “look like, act like or talk like any of the CEO’s the investors were used to funding.” But I kept at it and got it done raising $7 million for that venture. EBW2020 was created to help make the path easier for women entrepreneurs. I basically created the community, educational, financing and mentoring community I wish I would have had. I was simply trying to solve my own problem when I launched EBW2020.
What was your a-ha moment?
For EBW it was and is a calling. I was on a dirt road in Dallas, Texas in 2011. I grew up thinking I would be a missionary. The day before the drive on that road I had chosen, in prayer, to give my life over in service to whatever I was called to do. The next day- I was driving and praying (at the same time) and heard the call to “Empower a Billion Women by 2020”. I have been faithful to that call and vision ever since. It is what brought me to Dell and into the work I do now.
What’s the EBW story?
The vision happened in 2011. EBW started on “its own two feet” in May 2015. Today, EBW2020 is a unique movement. Our focus is on three things:
1) To help women start, grow and scale their businesses beyond the $1 million mark. Less than 4% of businesses ever reach that goal, and a number of us on the executive team have accomplished that goal and now use our expertise to help teach other women to do the same.
2) We don’t just talk about empowering, we execute on it. We not only create a global community fueled by Chapters around the world (we are at approximately 40 now), but we tie everything to a financial impact. So we don’t just talk empowerment, we tie real numbers and an ROI to all we do!
3) We achieve real and measurable impact through proprietary software and services that help match women entrepreneurs to resources.
What is the ultimate vision of EBW?
To empower a billion women by 2020 with the tools, tech and resources (funding) needed to succeed as leaders and entrepreneurs.
To help allocated $1B in contracts and capital to women across the globe. I learned at Dell that if you loan/ invest in a business- that business will likely leverage that capital to create 10x of purchasing power (so $10B). With those added resources, an entrepreneur has the potential t create another 10x in market impact (so in this case $100B of global market impact). That is my goal- and with this- to help create a global sustainable future for our families, children and generations after us.
What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenges I have ever faced and see the same in other entrepreneurs is confidence. We can be our own worst enemy. The exciting thing is when you surround yourself with a great mentor and support system, it is possible to overcome the doubts, challenges and fear we can tend to place on ourselves.
What has surprised you the most on this journey?
There have been several surprises on this journey:
- When we launched the $100 million fund by and for women — not a single woman applied. I learned that women (compared to the guys) will apply when they meet “100% of the requirements” whereas guys will apply when they meet 60% (or less in some cases!). So helping women learn how to get comfortable with money and raising money was key for us as part of our educational system.
- I am surprised that while there are many women across the globe dedicated to helping one another- there still are many women- in leadership positions- that say they will help but actually do the opposite. I mentioned this because when I hear some women talk “that it is the men holding us back”- its not. If anyone is holding us back it is most often ourselves and/or other women. So, let’s stop this! Let’s succeed together! It is for reasons like this that I am so proud and honored to be part of initiatives such as Creative Business Cup, to see both men and women help each other thrive! (thank you!)
- Finally- something you always hear and that I know is that things usually take “three times as long and three times as much” money to make them happen. I KNOW this and yet I still feel like at my age, with my expertise I can make things happen faster. That said? It doesn’t happen that way. It always takes longer, and costs more than we think. Unless you happen to just get REALLY lucky. So be prepared!
What is your advice to entrepreneurs just starting out?
Get a mentor, join a community (come join us at EBW2020!) and know that this is a lifelong journey of learning and advancing. Surround yourself with a support system and enjoy the greatest calling that anyone can have on their life! To be an entrepreneur!
iV was a keynote speaker and global juror at the Creative Business Cup Global Finals in 2018.
To know more about ebw2020, visit this website.