Access to Capital for Women: Capturing Opportunities to Grow Your Business

Access to Capital for Women: Capturing Opportunities to Grow Your Business

Businesses generally require money in order to grow. This 5 module course aims to equip you with the mindset and skills needed to access the capital to support the growth of your business. In this course you learn to interpret financial statements in order to understand the capital needed for growth, the types of capital available, and the process for connecting what you need with what is available. This course was built in partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and Babson College, a world leader in entrepreneurship education.

The course will begin with an opportunity for introspection. You’ll reflect on what it means to be a business owner with an entrepreneurial orientation. Then, you will learn the basics of financial statements and understand how to use them in strategic planning and communicating to potential capital providers. You’ll learn from case studies and examples of how other women business owners have applied these skills to grow their business. Finally, we will walk you through how to develop growth projections, a form of storytelling built on numbers that you can leverage as you develop your entrepreneurial vision and seek funding.

You'll Love This Course If

  • You are a woman starting or running a business who wants to understand what kinds of external capital is available to grow your business
  • You are trying to understand the key mindsets and technical skills needed to receive external capital
  • You are interested in understanding how women business owners in India have raised the money they needed to grow their businesses

Our Learning Partner

Acumen is excited to partner with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and Babson College in offering this course.

10kw_logo_color_new_largeThe Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative is a campaign to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education and access to capital. The initiative has reached women from across 56 countries through a network of 100 academic, nonprofit, and bank partners.

In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), 10,000 Women launched the first ever global loan facility in 2014 dedicated to women to enable 100,000 women entrepreneurs to access capital. This public-private partnership, spurred by private sector innovation, has catalyzed new investments from both the public and private sectors. In July 2015, President Obama announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) would become one of the Facility’s first investors with a $100 million commitment.  To date, the Facility has committed over $400 million to banks in 14 emerging markets that will provide 25,000 women entrepreneurs the opportunity to access capital.


Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for​ Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®​. The top​-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® ​as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.​

What You'll Learn

By the end of this five-module course, you will:

  • Identify different types of external capital available throughout your entrepreneurial journey
  • Apply knowledge of financial statement basics, ratio analysis and growth projections to your business so that you will be equipped to seek external funding
  • Identify emerging initiatives that make capital available to women business owners and the understand the mindsets and skills required to capture those opportunities
  • Understand how existing Indian women business owners have secured funding to grow their businesses

This is an introductory level course.  Basic financial literacy is recommended, but not required.

This course is designed for women in India that are starting or operating their own business. But other individuals interested in this topic are welcome to participate.

Course Outline

Module 1: Introduction to the Course – Women and Access to Capital

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Familiarize yourself with the course structure and meet your learning community
  • Explain some of the common factors that result in an existing funding gap for women owned businesses, particularly in India
  • Start developing an understanding of the mindsets and technical skills needed to effectively access external capital for your business’s growth and success
  • Understand the 5Cs framework of capital access
  • Reflect on your personal journey,  your business, and your potential to be entrepreneurial

An optional reading that covers an introduction to financial statements will be available prior to Module 2

Module 2: Financial Statements and Your Business

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Use a tool called the Balance Sheet Equation (BSE) to reflect business activities on your income statement and balance sheet
  • Explain why it is important to differentiate between your business’s cash flow and profit
  • Explain the concept of burn rate and how to conduct a breakeven analysis of your business
  • Start developing an understanding of how different types of external capital interact with each financial statement

Module 3: Financial Analysis

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand the mechanism and the value of common size analysis
  • Practice basic financial ratio calculation and recognize important ratios including ROE (return on equity), ROA (return on assets) and its constituents
  • Reflect on your business’s current financial leverage and other possible ways to improve your business’s ROE

Module 4: Capital Providers as your Audience

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Understand various financing options available for business
  • Review factors motivating external capital providers to invest in you and how they make decisions
  • Understand what you need to communicate to capital providers in light of the 5Cs of capital access framework
  • Understand how a growth forecast is created and practice creating one for your own business
  • Construct about the story of your business to be presented to potential capital providers 

Module 5: Networking and Accessing Needed Resources

By completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Reflect on your unique identity as an entrepreneur and practice how you can establish professional credentials in conversations
  • Reflect on people who have been part of your entrepreneurial journey and start creating your networking wish list
  • Practice building an effective network to support your entrepreneurial journey by connecting with at least two other individuals in the course community
  • Review stories of  women business owners in India who have gained access to external capital and reflect on their advice

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to take this course?

All +Acumen courses are free.

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals who complete all requirements.

Would there be a teacher or a facilitator for this course?

No, there will be no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course, but you can ask questions in the course discussion forum.

What are the technical requirements?

This course will be provided by a platform called NovoEd. Please review ‘NovoEd Technical Requirements and Browser Compatibility’. They have additional information on Mobile Compatibility and Low-Bandwidth Support.

You need a computer that allows you to watch videos through this platform, download our course materials (PDF reading) and the ability to upload your assignments.

What do you mean by 'Team'?

You can take this course either in a team or on your own. +Acumen course is designed to facilitate peer based learning experience and you can review more in this ‘Guide to Getting Started with Your +Acumen Course Team’.

If you are interested in taking this course in a team, you can either (1) invite your friends/colleagues to take this course with you or (2) Join and participate in the course platform to find other learners to be in your team (we will provide instructions on the day course starts)

If I take this course in a team, do my team members need to be in the same location?

We recommend signing up with a team that is all physically located in the same place. Much of the value of this course derives from the in-person, peer-to-peer learning that happens between team members. With that said, we have had teams cover many of the team discussions over Skype or Google+ hangouts so it is possible to have a remote team.

Remember, all members of your team need to individually register for this course.

What is the ideal size for my team?

We generally recommend a team of 2 to 5 individuals. If your team is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and conduct team sessions together (to work on the assignment together) for all of the modules.

Are there any prerequisites for taking this course?

This is an introductory course and there are no prerequisites. For those who want to review the basics, please refer to this document: ‘7 financial terms every serious entrepreneur should know’ by VentureBeat (2013/6/8)

More questions?

Please contact courses@plusacumen.org

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