MADISON — Patty Abramson, the founder and managing director of a venture capital fund established to invest in women-owned or managed growth companies will speak on the creation of venture funds supporting women entrepreneurs at The Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, on Tuesday, June 20 at 2:30 p.m.

The talk, sponsored by the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, will feature an introduction by Wisconsin Department of Commerce Secretary Brenda Blanchard.

“This is a unique opportunity for the education, business and government communities to come together to learn about and discuss options for funding and creating angel funds to support women entrepreneurs,” said Erica Kauten, state director of the Wisconsin SBDC.

She added, “It is our hope that we will be able to learn from Ms. Abramson’s experience and pursue some of the ideas we identify.”

The Women’s Growth Capital Fund, based in Washington D.C. and established by Abramson in 1997, is the first women-owned, women focused fund in the country to be licensed by the Small Business Administration as a Small Business Investment Company. The Fund, with $30 million under management, is the largest venture capital fund in the Eastern United States, and perhaps nationally, which focuses its investments on women-owned and/or managed businesses.

Investors include more than 70 individuals, 70% of whom are women, as well as financial institutions including Bank of America, First Union Bank, United Bank, BankBoston, State Street Bank and several foundations.

According to the U.S. Business Administration, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men and, by 2000, it is projected that women will own 40% of all U.S. businesses. Women-owned businesses currently provide jobs for 26% of the workforce and they generated $2.3 trillion in sales in 1996.

Despite these statistics, women-owned businesses receive only about 2% of the $14 billion of venture capital invested annually by institutional venture capitalists.

By increasing access to equity capital for women entrepreneurs, the Women’s Growth Capital Fund intends to promote the growth of successful women-owned enterprises, and in so doing, generate significant financial returns for its investors.


Sharyn Wisniewski, UW System
(608) 262-6448