Our Why IAEOU was founded because of our founder, Lisa Canning's, experience as a small business owner. Now 53, Lisa Canning has successfully been self-employed since the age of 17. Her first venture was a successful 12-million-dollar business in the music business with little to no investment except for the use of personal credit cards. When she did qualify for bank loans, after 4 years, her 20+ percent continuous annual and profitable growth, for more than 15 years, required ongoing investments that were hampered by banks who were risk adverse. Advisors and mentors interested in the growth of her small business were far and few between despite her being recognized as a Top 200-retail... read more Our Why IAEOU was founded because of our founder, Lisa Canning's, experience as a small business owner. Now 53, Lisa Canning has successfully been self-employed since the age of 17. Her first venture was a successful 12-million-dollar business in the music business with little to no investment except for the use of personal credit cards. When she did qualify for bank loans, after 4 years, her 20+ percent continuous annual and profitable growth, for more than 15 years, required ongoing investments that were hampered by banks who were risk adverse. Advisors and mentors interested in the growth of her small business were far and few between despite her being recognized as a Top 200-retailer (in a male dominated 'boys-club' industry), being routinely quoted in trade magazines and appearing on their covers, and being named by the National Association Women Business Owner of The Year in Chicago, Illinois. Since our inception in 2006, IAEOU has been focused on our founder mission to help under-served small business owners, especially women, find the resources they need to transform their ideas into sales and build the channels to market they need to grow and raise the capital they need to rise and thrive. At its core IAEOU is about helping those least served-those in small business who like our founder have viable business models that are offered few if any resources, struggle to access bank loans and who may not yet be investable by Angels or Venture Capitalists. Our Early Years to Present In our early years, IAEOU's family and friends supported the launch, advancement and development of our incubator, The IAE- The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship, for the creative sector in Illinois. It was an experiment to see how quickly we could help small business owners find new sales and channels to market, as often this is the only way creatives in small businesses can survive and find any investment resources they need to grow. IAE achieved a 97% success rate with over 200 small business owners, helping them to find new sales and new channels to market. Our success brought us recognition by The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) and the White House for our innovative education to helping under-served entrepreneurs thrive. Our academic model was published by USASBE by Elgar Publishing in the Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy in 2014. We were also invited to speak on the first ever creative industries panel at the 6th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015. That recognition propelled our 501c3 forward into a global arena resulting in the introduction to IAEOU's co-founder Scott Gillespie, and to the founders of The JOBS ACT, Jason Best and Sherwood Neiss, from Crowdfund Capital Advisors. Scott is a growth adviser, investor and mentor to ventures (micro) around the globe; helping founders to transform their: ideas into products, products into sales, and ventures into businesses. Scott splits his time architecting regional startup ecosystems (macro) in: Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine, Jordan, USA, Malaysia, and Colombia. As Founder and Director of theJigsaw Group, a business accelerator Scott and his team connect: founders, talent, customers, markets, and channels; with global opportunities. Jigsaw Group investment portfolio ranges from office fit out (UAE Compare), to new media (BTG Studios) and online education (co-founder IAEOU). To learn more about Scott go to ABOUT at the bottom of our website iaeou.me Shortly after Scott came on board, The IAE closed its physical doors, created a new partnership with Crowdfund Capital Advisors as their educational arm, and became a virtual accelerator called IAEOU- Vowels are to words what creativity is to business- basic and necessary. Why is creativity so basic and so necessary to business? Because growing a business is challenging! It takes a lot of creativity and ingenuity to mature from a startup into a venture with growing sales, viable products, adequate funding, and a team prepared for growth- especially without access to resources others who are considered more scalable gain access to far more quickly. And you have to be strong enough to fund raise which means you have to have traction and sales. The competition for survival weeds out >50% in 5 years according to the US Bureau of Labor. Once a venture achieves breakeven, our research suggests that a SME (small and medium sized businesses) #1 goal is to secure 'more sales' to build a robust pipeline (few if any businesses ever say they have 'too many sales'); yet the majority openly admit plans are easy and sales management is hard. Albion Ventures Growth Report 2013, examined the challenges faced by 450 SMEs with a combined turnover of over 1.6B and found that the biggest gap in the small business skillset is SALES. And because of IAEOU's success skilling SME's in sales; and based on Crowdfund Capital Advisors global research advising 50+ countries on how to build financial ecosystems for entrepreneurs, as well as working with over 100 startups, and because of their research supporting that online traction is critical to SME's online funding success; we have spent the last few years building our abilities to help entrepreneurs globally find sales and build their social media skill building to find key influencers and investors. Together with CCA we have worked on projects with entrepreneurs for The World Bank, Climate Innovation Center in Kenya; International Development Bank in partnership with the Universidad Anahuac in Mexico, and delivered social media education to Virl Microfinance, the largest microfinance fund in Zimbabwe. These projects lead us, 18 months ago, to launch a training program in Pakistan to help women who otherwise are discouraged from working to become social media marketing specialists who are focused on finding sme's sales and new channels to market. Part of the challenges entrepreneurs face is the need for lead generation and marketing support at a low price. We spun off this project under the IAEOU umbrella and named it Sana's Kitchen after the woman in Lahore who is our partner. See more at SanasKitchen.me To date, we have perfected our education process and have been steadily working with clients successfully. Now we are partnering with a large training organization in Lahore, Pakistan called Loop.org.pk founded and run by a woman, Faiza Khalid, who shares our values and vision. With the passing of Title III of the JOBS act becoming a living law on May 16, 2016 in the United States, regular Americans (a.k.a. unaccredited investors), now have the opportunity to invest in ventures (incorporated as businesses, not for profits and B corps) they use everyday and in entrepreneurs they believe in. This allows family, friends, colleagues and peers to make investments of $10 or $100,000 to accelerate IMPACT and earn, real returns. We are in need of Global Giving's support because while we have part 1 of our mission just about ready to scale- to build an affordable resource through Sana's Kitchen to help SME's access sales and new channels to market- part 2 of our mission requires additional staff to create a parallel ongoing effort to reach key influencers and investors to build traction for their fundraising efforts through crowdfunding. IAEOU has recently been invited to become a key partner to a newly forming association too for the State of Illinois- The Illinois Business Innovation Association. Founded by Carol Abrahamson, a former valley venture capitalist and the founder of over 13 not for profits and 7 for profit businesses, our goal is to serve the over 200 incubator and accelerators in Illinois. We already have the support of the Governor's Office and have been invited into participating in numerous Bi-Centennial Events. We also are co-creating the newly created Great Lakes Innovation Summit bringing together the managers of incubators and accelerators across 5 states and Canada. Entrepreneurship is critical to the life of economies globally and to individuals, their families and the communities they serve. For the first time entrepreneurs (who come in all genders, ethnic heritage and represent a wide variety of causes) can use crowdfunding methods to engage with communities of origin, communities of interest, communities of geography and communities of diaspora to raise capital for their businesses. But this opens the door to more questions we need a new hire to help us to help them answer like: Where do I go to find my supporters that have capital? What is the right type of campaign for my initiative? What is the process to getting listed on one of these websites? How do I create a campaign that sells my vision to my potential backers? How do I approach the social network I am building for sales and new channels to market back my campaign? How do I stay compliant with the law? How do I use my crowd not just for money but knowledge, experience and relationships? How do I keep my investors informed about what I'm doing without diluting my efforts at running my business? What are investors looking for? What are the keys to success? As the 3 year-old fledging Regulation Crowdfunding industry takes shape, IAEOU wants to provide the under-represented especially female-owned, women of color, and social enterprises, access to answers to the above questions and best practices in education and training to help them become prepared to raise funds. Through the development of their social media and sales skill building we will help them find their audience and access the capital they need. We are so close to realizing our goal to connect these efforts to their fund-raising needs and believe with Global Giving's support we can overcome our staffing hurdle to fully realize our mission.
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