Category Archives: Women in Technology

Business Finance: Anywhere, Anytime

As the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) continues to expand our Access to Capital Program we are focused on extending services through direct lending and the development of online/on-demand course offerings.  Whether your business is in the city of Chicago or throughout our nine state Midwest region, we strive to provide your business with a strong financial foundation.

The WBDC’s online/on-demand educational platform will be launched in spring 2013.  Ingage Partners, a Certified WBE company, partnering with TiER1 Performance Solutions has been selected to assist the WBDC in implementing this new system.  The first course, Take the Mystery out of Finance, will be offered in both Spanish and English and cover the basics of finance for your business.  The WBDC selected this course as the launching pad for our online education because we know how important business financial literacy is in running a successful business.

In the interim we have put together a list of useful, easy to use tools to help manage your financials from your computer, tablet or smartphone.  Take a look and let us know which ones you have used.

  1. Wallstreet Journal Excel Shortcuts: Simply put, these cheat sheets
  2.  help navigate running your finances through Excel, particularly useful when utilizing the WBDC’s Financial Projections Excel spreadsheet.
  3. InDinero: Access and manage your books, file your taxes and take care of payroll on multiple devices through a secure connection.  Plus, the company was founded by a woman – Jessica Mah.
  4. Intuit’s GoPayment: Allows you to accept payments anywhere, from anyone with no transaction fees.  Be careful to read the full details, as there are costs associated, but at least the app and cancellation are free.
  5. LightSpeed Retail Inc.: A virtual, portable hub to keep track of sales and inventory, create invoices and print receipts.
  6. MIT Entrepreneurship Open Courses: While this isn’t an app, it is a great resource for free online entrepreneurial education.

What do you use to manage your business finances?  Have you tried any tools that simply do not work?  Let us know!

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Filed under Business, Entrepreneur, Finance, Small Business, Technology, Uncategorized, WBDC, Women in Technology

Women in Tech: A Look at TaskRabbit.com’s Leah Busque

Here in Chicago the weather is hot, the city is thriving and entrepreneurs are seeing success in all different industries. In late June, Chicago hosted the 2nd Annual Techweek event at Merchandise Mart, as we mentioned in a previous post covering a conversion with Arabella Santiago – executive director of Techweek.  Now it’s time to take a look at another young entrepreneur who recently expanded her online, service based tech start-up, TaskRabbit, into the Chicago market.

Leah Busque is founder of taskrabbit.com, a business focused on providing any and all services at a moment’s notice. From IKEA furniture assembly to walking your dog, the “rabbits” do it all. Leah conceived of the idea after running into a sticky situation when she and her husband were rushing to leave and had no food for their yellow lab Kobe. “What if someone could pick up the food for us and feed him while we’re heading out for the evening?”

Thus, TaskRabbit was born. TaskRabbit’s slogan, “Keep Calm and Task On,” is not only catchy, but indicative of the style in which Leah operates – a relaxed attitude and straightforward approach to what can be a complicated technology world.  Leah is a true woman of technology, being a former coder for IBM and now capitalizing on her female know-how to tap into the most lucrative and highest consuming target market – women. Not only is her company about convenience, it’s also about caring, with their partnership with the Ellie Fund in Boston where services for breast cancer patients, including rides to doctor appointments and picking up groceries,  are provided by Rabbits free of charge.

When discussing what she learned as a start-up, Leah listed the following things:

  1. Talk to everyone about your idea
  2. Network like you mean it
    1. If you can get a meeting face to face it’s invaluable
  3. Iterate on customer feedback
  4. The right investors will have the same passion and obsession with the business that you have
  5. Don’t over-think things

Take her advice to heart, after all, she was a CEO at the age of 12. “Pollution Solutions started in 1991. It was a non-profit focused on saving the planet.  I wrote letters to the President giving him a piece of my mind and made myself CEO after asking my dad what the highest position in a company was.”

Leah’s final words of advice: “See how far you can take your idea.  Go step by step by step.  Don’t be afraid to take the leap.”

As reported by Bethany Hartley, WBDC Marketing Assistant, pictured above with Leah Busque (left) at TechWeek Chicago.

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Filed under Business Start-up, Entrepreneur, Small Business, Technology, WBDC, Women in Business, Women in Technology