Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Lucky start-ups

Life Lessons: Lucky start-ups

American women are starting 1,288 new businesses per day. That's double the rate of three years ago.

However, being your own boss can be challenging.

Eight out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months, but there is still hope. Meet two women who are helping start-ups succeed.

Julie Lein and Clara Brenner are the founders of Tumml, a nonprofit that helps start-ups get started and make an impact in the community.

"We are on a mission to help entrepreneurs solve urban problems," says Lein.

Tumml provides start-ups with $20,000 in funding, an office space to work in, and a mentoring program.

"I think the most important thing when starting a company is finding people whoíve done it before you," explains Brenner.

There are more than 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, but starting is often the hardest part.

"We really didn't anticipate how many no's we were going to get before we got to a yes."

To make your startup a success, seek funds.

Last year, venture capital investors funded about 1500 start-ups.

Also, consider working from home.

About 52 percent of all small businesses are home-based. Be flexible, since most startups end up doing something different than they originally intended.

Last, don't do it alone!

"The value of your team is so important and it's absolutely critical to your success," Lein explains.

Tumml helped Rose Broome, CEO of HandUp. It's a business that provides people with a way to fund the homeless by texting.

"They're bringing together a community, and that's made a big difference for us," says Broome.

Sean Connolly and Tom Evans are also entrepreneurs who found help in Tumml.

"Every day, [I'm] learning more," says Tom Evans, CTO of Sovi.

"Be hungry and stay hungry," says Sean Connolly, director of Engagement at Neighbor.ly.

It's support for start-ups that's also solving social problems in cities.

"We believe we're disrupting and shaking up city living," Lein said.

Right now, Tumml is working with five startups and about 25 entrepreneurs.

The group gets donations from companies and foundations and invests in for-profit startups that have the potential to impact and solve urban problems.

Any profit it makes on its investments gets cycled back into new start-ups.


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