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Seattle Group To Hold Its First Investment Forum Solely For Women Entrepreneurs

Getting your startup company funded can be tough no matter what, but women entrepreneurs may face the additional challenge of overcoming gender bias.

A Seattle-based angel investing group called ZINO Society is holding its first-ever investment forum dedicated solely to women business owners. 

For almost nine years, ZINO Society has been bringing investors and business owners together as a way to get startups funded. The group is headed by an entrepreneur named Cathi Hatch, who says the idea for the women-only event came from a man she works with, named Andrew Klein.

"He just really wanted to be able to produce something like this and said, 'Why can’t we have a forum that’s all about that?'" Hatch said. "And I thought, 'Well, I don’t know. That’s actually a great idea. Let’s do it.'"

The Seattle-based research group PitchBook says only 13 percent of venture-capital deals in the first half of last year went to companies founded by women.

The figure is up from 4 percent in 2004, but it still shows that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to raising capital. According to a recent Fortune magazine report, about 95 percent of senior partners in venture-capital firms are men. 

Hatch says she’s not sure the reasons why it’s hard for women entrepreneurs to raise money, but she says her forum will bring together some women who have successfully gotten funded to share lessons they’ve learned.

Of course, ZINO is not the only group aimed at helping women business owners. Another organization in Seattle, Seraph Capital Forum, says it’s the first all-women angel investor group created in the U.S.  

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.