Building investment relationships takes time. Short pitches from entrepreneurs are often the first glimpse at the potential of an entrepreneur and investment opportunity. I’ve seen a lot of pitches over my career lifetime – ranging from full-on sales mode to cringe-worthy to intriguing and compelling. As an investor, we need to diligently allocate our time (but not over-allocate it) to venture pitches and listen carefully to discern those opportunities worthy of spending more time on.

I recently volunteered my time to coach an emerging startup founder, Valerie Song of AVA, for Forum for Women EntrepreneursPitch for the Purse competition. I encouraged her to think and plan for the long-term of appropriately capitalizing her venture and supported her already strong proposition for indoor smart gardens. I made a cheeky cameo in her presentation and we were pleased to hear that Valerie was selected as one of the three finalists in the program. Congratulations Valerie!

Photo credit: FWE via Twitter

What surprised me about the event though, is this. At other venture pitch events, the representation of women entrepreneurs is often low – maybe 1 female founder out of 6 or 7 presenters. There were 10 women entrepreneurs that presented at FWE’s event and all were very strong in terms of idea, vision, business acumen, and communication. What engaged me the most was the diversity in terms of problems being addressed and how. They were interesting, creative, and different. We need leadership diversity in the venture ecosystem for this very reason. Different needs get met. People are less likely to get left behind.

Congratulations to all the participants in the Pitch for the Purse semi-finals – the entrepreneurs, coaches, judges and thank you to FWE for their leadership. I’m looking forward to cheering Valerie on at the Pitch for the Purse finals gala in February 2018.

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For more impact investing resources and tools, check out Integrated Investing: Impact Investing with Head, Heart, Body, and Soul, available at all major online book retailers.

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