More VCs are supporting women founders, and those founders are requiring accounting, legal, and other departments to have women among their ranks.
“Many investors supported me because I am a female founder. I have learned to pay that support forward by refusing to do business with all-male legal and accounting firms. We can make it so much further if we not only support women founders but as founders stop spending money with those who do not have diverse teams. We must pay the support given to us forward in order to move ahead,” says Jessica Contreras, CEO of Fuego Fino, Inc.
With this inclusion in mind, Jessica Contreras started the NoahDEX as a way of providing verification and directory services for companies seeking to fall under the banner of ESG. One major discovery Jessica made was that many female and minority-founded ventures sadly ended with large checks going to non-diverse legal, accounting, and marketing firms, perpetuating the problem.
“I looked under the hood and found that the largest checks being cut went out to non-diverse professional service providers,” says Jessica Contreras, CEO of Fuego Fino, Inc.
Contreras devised a rating system, and along with her VC partner, Barbara Bickham, built a simple AI-driven model which rates a company’s social impact based upon the diversity of professional service providers they use–who they spend their money with. A second rating is based on how much the businesses offset their environmental impact. These ratings make up the core of companies in WIF AX.
“We use our experience in the AI and Blockchain arena to advance both technology and sustainability. We give investors, companies, and other entities a rating score which we then use to evaluate their total impact within the ecosystem. This system helps consumers make better choices and companies become more profitable,” says Barbara Bickham, Managing Partner, WIF AX (Women’s Innovation Fund Accelerator).
About Fuego Fino, Inc.
Fuego Fino, Inc. is a planet-friendly wine and spirits house that specializes in developing the next high-growth product segment. They maximize their revenue potential by minimizing waste and owning a major portion of their supply and distribution networks.
Fuego Fino’s crowdfunding campaign is live now. For more information, please visit the website.
About the NoahDEX
The NoahDEX derived its name from the biblical story of Noah, who was one of the first people to endure a natural disaster that was related to climate change. Like Noah, we felt that we needed to rebuild this planet, so we built a list (index) of diverse partners to help us do so. Membership on the list allows companies with diversity and environmental goals to attract more business.
About WIF AX (Women’s Innovation Fund Accelerator)
WIF AX (Women’s Innovation Fund Accelerator) is a Qualified Opportunity/Impact Fund which aims to build female-balanced, sustainable, emerging tech companies. Their goal is to speed growth by using a mix of acceleration, real estate, and business finance. WIF AX’s portfolio companies contain a C-suite made up of at least 50% women and operational plans that contain sustainability considerations.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Daily Michigan News journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.