A Houston company is coming to Dallas with an event that aims to help women entrepreneurs.
The company is called NextSeed, and they'll host a pitch competition and pop-up shop at Victory Plaza on May 12.
Local female-owned businesses can pitch their ideas, Shark Tank-style, to a panel of successful businesswomen in front of a live audience.
The winner gets a three-month pop-up lease at Victory Plaza, courtesy of Trademark, the property management company; plus $5,000 in legal services from national law firm Polsinelli, which has a history of servicing small businesses and entrepreneurs.
NextSeed is a crowdfunding platform that allows people to invest in a business for as little as $100 and experience those businesses as well, since they might be located right around the corner.
The idea is to invest in local businesses, says spokesman Dillon Sorensen.
"In the same way that consumers today have the ability to choose to buy local products and consume local foods, our goal is to provide everyday investors with the opportunity to invest in local businesses," Sorensen says.
The platform also helps businesses with debt financing. To be listed with NextSeed, business owners must have a proven track record as entrepreneurs. Their business must be producing revenues, and they must be able to show that they can pay off the loan.
According to a release, women-owned businesses have lower access to capital than their male counterparts. A Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship 2016 report found that only $1 in $23 in small business loans go to women-owned businesses.
"Substantial amounts of research clearly show that women and minority entrepreneurs are largely underserved by traditional banks, and our platform is playing a small part in attempting to change that," says NextSeed co-founder Bob Dunton.
Since its founding in 2014, NextSeed has raised $8 million for 30 small businesses, including two businesses in the Dallas-area: The Dumpling Bros., a food truck in Denton; and Leela's Raw Bar & abv establishment, a Greenville Avenue restaurant.
The Dallas competition has attracted 15 applications so far. Judges include Leah Frazier, Courtney Sinelli (WhichWich), Julie McCullough (Folksie, The Pin Show, Harkensback), Tillie Borchers (Civitas Capital), and Stacey Barton (Trademark).
The deadline to apply is April 30; go to NextSeed.com/femalefounders.