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Big Business Wealth, Supporting Women in the Developing World

March8thVector2When we think of the last name Gates, we generally connect it with Bill and his multi-billion dollar technology corporation: Microsoft. Melinda Gates, however, is more than just the wife of one of the wealthiest men in the world. She helps to run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and thus supports women across the globe. Consider some of the ways that Melinda Gates is inspiring change for women globally, thus deserving our attention as we continue to reflect on International Women’s Day throughout the month of March. 

Bill Gates wasn’t always as philanthropic as he is today. It wasn’t until Melinda married him in 1994 that charity efforts increased with the formation of the William H. Gates Foundation. She was content to be in the background without her name on the charity organization. The name changed in 1999 to represent the active role that she played. A $30 billion donation from Warren Buffet in 2006 made it possible for Melinda to completely restructure the foundation into three sections. While one was focused in the US, the other two focused on global development and worldwide health. Some of the biggest contributions of the foundation have been in developing more efficient ways to test and treat disease in poorer countries, including some of the biggest health concerns like HIV, TB, and malaria. 

By Bill_og_Melinda_Gates_2009-06-03_(bilde_06).JPG: Kjetil Ree derivative work: Jacek555 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Bill_og_Melinda_Gates_2009-06-03_(bilde_06).JPG: Kjetil Ree derivative work: Jacek555 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, Melinda Gates made a pledge that will affect women globally. The organization is using more than half a billion dollars to provide women in developing lands with access to contraceptives. They are fighting to implement family planning services across Africa where many women die simply because they have no medical facilities to assist them with pregnancy. The foundation has also provided millions in charity to help give financial support to Latin American women who are at the poorest levels of society. 

Follow Melinda Gates on Twitter to keep up with the latest in advancements for women on the world scene. For example, on March 14th she provided a link to an article about gender equality for women in Tanzania. The foundation also has its own Twitter account which likewise follows global change, such as the March 16th post about efforts to increase awareness in Asia about the benefits of breastfeeding. 

Melinda is living proof that a woman doesn’t have to come from hardship to want to help change lives for others. She is willing to use the large sum of resources at her disposal to improve the quality of life for women globally. That’s why we are taking this opportunity to salute her efforts in behalf of women around the world. 

 

Posted in: Women in Business, Women's Issues

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A Girl Who Would Not Be Denied an Education

International Womens Day - March 8 2014You can’t even think about International Women’s Day without certain important and famous women coming to mind. One important woman that you may not have known of until recently, however, is still in her teen years and is already fighting to make a difference for women on a grand scale. Malala Yousafzai is a 16 year old girl from Pakistan who has fought for women’s rights since she was just 11 years old, specifically the right to be educated. This is important because regions of Pakistan run by the Taliban often refused to allow girls to attend school. Thus, at the early age of 11, Malala started to fight for her gender by telling reporters of their plight.

In 2009, on January 15th, a ban was placed on women attending school in her area. Though some continued to do so, the Taliban would destroy girls’ schools by the dozens. A little over a month later, on February 25th 2009, girls were allowed to return to school. Malala documented all of the events of these months for the world to see in her blog. 

A documentary and several television appearances continued Malala’s efforts to raise awareness for the plight of young girls in Pakistan. At age 14, she received Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize (the first to receive the award) which only served to give her a higher profile on the local and world scene. 

By Claude TRUONG-NGOC (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Claude TRUONG-NGOC (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Taliban tried to use fear to quiet this brave young girl. Threats came at her in the form of notes shoved under her door. Death threats were even posted in newspapers. Some threats even came in via Facebook. With Malala undeterred by these threats, the Taliban decided that drastic measures were necessary and actually hatch a plot to assassinate this young teenage girl.

At the age of 15, she was shot. The bullet struck her in the head, causing damage to part of her brain, but fast action on the part of responders to airlift her to a military hospital for immediate treatment kept her alive. She was moved to the UK for treatment, where she made a full recovery.

While she was in the hospital, an envoy from the UN visited her. A petition was launched in her name that demanded all girls be allowed to pursue an education by the year 2015. Then in 2013, Malala was actually able to speak at the UN in person. She was described as a hero by the UN Secretary General. More recently, her autobiography has been publish.

Malala Yousafzai is an example of how a woman of any age can make a difference by standing up for women’s rights. That is why we tell her story this week as we honor some of the women who represent the spirit behind International Women’s Day.

Additional Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai

http://malalafund.org/

http://www.malala-yousafzai.com/

 

Posted in: Women's Issues

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How to Really Secure a Small Business Loan

Successful business team working together at officeRecently an article was written about the 5 steps to a small business loan, but the information provided was outdated and needs to be corrected. 

Although many banks and lending institutions are now loosening up their money to lend to small business startups, it does not mean the floodgates are open. This is because banks are still very wary about lending money to start up businesses unless they meet certain requirements. 

However, there are a lot of myths associated with getting a business loan from a bank that can sidetrack your efforts. While most of the advice is well meaning, it is also misplaced as well. What follows are some common myths and facts about how to secure a loan for your small business startup. 

Fact: Nothing takes the place of a good Business Plan

Your business plan lays out exactly what you need in order to achieve your goals. An effective business plan does three things;

  • Organizes you Entire Proposal
  • Accounts for all Money needed to successfully start your Business
  • Provides information to the Lender about what your Business will achieve

Essentially, no lender will offer you money to start up a company unless you have a good business plan. Your business plan should lay out in simple, but effective terms exactly what is needed to help you get started, the expenses along the way and the expected revenue as well. 

One of the biggest mistakes that most people make is not allocating enough money for their loan to cover all expenses until their business revenue really starts to kick in. 

Myth: Building a Relationship with the Banker

You have probably read a lot of advice about how building up a relationship with the banker can help secure you a loan. Well, perhaps if you are looking for a home mortgage and you need good quotes, such as relationship can pay dividends. 

However, when it comes to starting up your own business, your relationship with the bank will have little, if anything to do with getting a loan. All startup businesses are risks and no matter how friendly you are with the bank, they are only looking for three things;

  • Credit
  • Revenue your Business will Generate
  • Value of your Idea

If you have a very valuable idea such as starting up the next Google or creating the 3D printer, then you’ll have investors lining up to give you money because they see the value in your idea. This means that you will need to create a strong business plan and have an idea that will attract investors. Otherwise you are looking at a tough, uphill climb to fund your business. 

Plus, having multiple parties checking your personal credit may have a negative impact. Use a professional company to ensure that only banks and lenders who may invest with you. 

Fact: Show that You Need the Loan 

This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but banks have plenty of experience when it comes to what types of businesses will work. Essentially, a bank or lender is looking for a borrower who demonstrates the willingness to succeed.  

For example, if you are asking for a $100,000 loan and your net worth is $140,000, the lender understands that you really need this loan and along with your good personal credit are more likely to work hard to pay it off. 

However, if you ask for $100,000 and your net worth is $3 million, then you have a lot less to lose. Plus, if you are really worth that much money, why are you taking out a loan in the first place? This is a signal to the bank that you may not be as fully committed to the business as you should be. 

Myth: Check your Business Credit

It is understandable that you should have good personal credit before attempting to get a loan, but business credit? Most people don’t have any business credit built up at this point unless they’ve already started up a successful business. And if that is the case, then you don’t need to check it if it’s already good. 

If you contact Dun & Broadstreet, you can learn how to build up your business credit, but that will take time. Plus, your time will be better spent working on your own personal credit, creating a strong business plan and having an idea that offers real value for investors. Otherwise, you may very well be wasting your time in trying to create good business credit unless you have a strong background in business that can be used as such. 

Fact: Be Open & Upfront

One of the worst mistakes that you can make is trying to hide information from your banker or lender if things start going wrong. During the entire process from the time you fill out the application until the loan is fully paid off, you need to be open and honest with the lender in case anything happens. 

This is vitally important because the only thing worse than bad news to a banker is the surprise of hearing the bad news. If you have not received the loan yet and your personal credit has taken a hit, call up the banker and tell them. If you have gotten the loan and the business is starting to head downhill, call up your banker and inform them of the news. 

Bankers and lenders understand that bad things can happen and often do. By being upfront, honest and informing your banker as soon as possible, they may be able to help. Quite often, lenders are willing to work with you in order for you to complete the loan. This is especially true if you have not missed a payment yet. You may be surprised just how far a banker will go in order to help you succeed if you inform them early about what is going on. 

Getting a loan for your new business takes plenty of effort, but having the right advice can provide you with direction and focus which will help you succeed in getting a loan. By focusing your efforts and ignoring bad advice, you can be one step closer to starting up your own business. 

Posted in: Business Credit, Business Start Up

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