The future for women-led startups in San Antonio looks brighter thanks in part to a new angel investor with its sights set on the city. One non-profit, Beam, will help women scale their companies and work in tandem with a larger venture announced in May by Austin-based umbrella organization, Notley.
As advocates for market-driven social change, Notley has hired staffers in San Antonio, including recently named Director of Development Erin Huddleston, to promote in-person programming and develop connections. Based on a report by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, 4 out of every 10 U.S. businesses are women-owned, with women of color owning half of those businesses.
Notwithstanding, only about 7% of venture funds are directed toward women-owned startups, according to the financial firm Fundera. For Jill Vassar, one of Beam’s angel investors, the need to invest in these startups is vital to the state’s growth and prosperity. “Texas could use a thousand more Beam networks,” Vassar said. “The need is endless. Women entrepreneurs have just as many good ideas and have just as much experience.”
Founded in September 2020, Beam has directed more than $1 million in funding opportunities toward 11 companies, including seven businesses owned by women of color. The investments impact a cross-section of industries including software development, cosmetics, and a job site management firm. Companies looking for funding opportunities need not be members of Beam to apply, according to Huddleston.
In a prepared statement, Beam CEO and executive director, Leigh Christie, emphasized how important the work of the non-profit is in promoting increased opportunities for success for women entrepreneurs, and touts the organization’s expansion as a move that “highlights our commitment to helping women founders in San Antonio and increasing access to capital for women founders across Texas.”