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Building a Strategy to Fund Your Business On Your Terms

In this video, The Kassan Group founder Jenny Kassan outlines six important steps to designing your fundraising strategy.

Funding is an essential element of starting a business, but figuring out the best way to acquire it can be challenging, especially for mission-driven entrepreneurs who don’t want to give up their values to get their business off the ground.

In this video, Kassan Group founder, Jenny Kassan discusses her six-step process for raising capital without selling your soul. According to Jenny and her team, “The way you raise money should be consistent with what’s important to you and your business.”

These six pillars will lay down the proper foundation for your business to succeed while keeping your mission intact. This process consists of defining your goals and values; identifying your ideal investors; designing your offer; choosing your legal compliance strategy; creating an effective investor enrollment strategy; and addressing potential obstacles. Learn more about building the six pillars of your fundraising strategy in the following video.

The Kassan Group is planning a three-day virtual training to take a deep dive into these steps. If you’re looking for guidance on building a fundraising plan for your business in a way that meets your values, join us! Register for the event November 2-4 at JennyKassan.com/FundIt

 

How to Find the Right Investors for Your Small Business

In this video, Jenny Kassan describes a way to raise money for your business that lets you stay true to your goals and values and keeps you in control.

Every business needs funding to get off the ground, but determining the best way to attain it is no easy feat. Small business owners may think they have only three options: find investors via the venture capital (VC) path, take out a loan, or go the bootstrapping route. None of these options work well for the majority of businesses.

Fortunately, there is another way. In this video, Jenny Kassan, founder of The Kassan Group, shares how to raise money for your business without compromising what’s important to you. “You can get your business funded without having to sell your soul or give up control of your business.” 

Jenny recommends designing an investment opportunity that fits your business and to broaden your idea of who your investors could be. It’s important for business owners to remain transparent when discussing terms with prospective investors and to balance the investor’s needs with their own. This will help you find the right investors who come in on terms that are consistent with what you want for your business. Learn more about customizing your investment offering and getting creative about who your investors are in this video.

 

 

Looking for the right investors to help you grow your business? Sign up for our free email series and discover the 6 steps to finding values-aligned funding sources to help you achieve your goals! With the steps outlined in this series, you can make the process more efficient, less intimidating, and—dare we say it?—FUN! Sign up here.

Brite-Liter: Lighting the Way to Literacy for Every Child

Brite-Liter: Lighting the Way to Literacy for Every Child

Innovative business models enable entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s problems. Brite-Liter is a simple tool with a huge mission: Building foundational literacy skills by keeping the students’ visual focus, especially those who face learning challenges.

 

When his youngest son experienced reading challenges, entrepreneur and Pennsylvania College of Technology instructor Benjamin Kranz began looking into ways to help him improve his reading comprehension. After researching a variety of proven literacy educational techniques such as the Orton-Gillingham approach, Benjamin developed a simple tool he thought might increase his son’s ability to focus on words as he read. Within just seven weeks, Benjamin’s son experienced vast improvements in both his reading comprehension and enjoyment. 

Benjamin knew many other children experience reading challenges similar to those his son had faced. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, 65% of fourth graders fail to score proficiently on reading evaluations. Benjamin wanted to share the prototype he’d developed for his son with other students, families, and teachers. Thus in 2019 he and co-founder David Boyle launched Brite-Liter, a company offering a simple yet effective high-tech aid made to enhance children’s reading experiences.


In this Q&A, Benjamin shares the story behind Brite-Liter and the mission to change how we can improve literacy for all in education. 

 

Would you please briefly explain what the Brite-Liter tool is? 

Sure. It’s designed to gently stimulate the visual cortex using a focused beam of light to place emphasis on letters, phonics, words, or entire lines of text. By projecting light in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, Brite-Liter helps hold a child’s attention as they read. We designed the tool to help encourage reading of printed books over screens, maximize reading retention in minimal time, and support shared reading experiences for kids and their families.

 

Why did you develop this company? 

After I created a prototype of the tool for my son, we started using it for 20 minutes every night during our bedtime reading. In just seven weeks, we saw a major improvement in his reading capabilities. He not only felt at ease reading, but he also rose from the bottom to the top of his class with this tool. Seeing his experience, I wanted more students to be able to use the tool. 

 

What educational expertise did you bring to the project?

We spent a year collecting input from a wide variety of professors and literacy experts who specialize in eye-tracking methodologies. We didn’t specify that the tool was for the special education sector, but rather conducted a broad information-capture. 

 

Can you share about your one-for-one donation model?

Sure, for every Brite-Liter purchased, we donate one to a community, group or school in need. It follows a similar model to companies such as TOMS Shoes. Our donations focus on local causes and assisting schools, libraries, and organizations that have literacy initiatives in underrepresented areas.

 

What are your hopes for Brite-Liter going into the future? 

Studies continue to link increases in children’s screen time to language delays, behavioral problems, and poorer overall cognitive development. Through Brite-Liter, we hope to empower students and their families, and to offer a useful tool in fighting the literacy crisis many people are facing. 

 

Brite-Liter was highlighted in one of our recent Changemaker Showcase events, an hour-long session featuring five entrepreneurs who transformed their ideas into business realities without compromising their vision or values. To learn more and get inspired by some of today’s most passionate and innovative changemakers, watch the webinar recording!

 

Are you a mission-driven entrepreneur looking to grow your business? Sign up for Raise Capital on Your Own Terms: Build it, Fund it, Grow It, our virtual training on November 2-4. This three-day workshop will help you explore the structure, techniques, and insights to find the right investors and fund your business on your own terms. Register here! 

 

Meet Our 5 Social Entrepreneurs from the July ‘22 Changemaker Showcase

Meet Our 5 Social Entrepreneurs from the July ‘22 Changemaker Showcase

Changemaker Showcase

Webinar Recording, July 14, 2022

 

The Kassan Group hosted a free virtual event to showcase five social entrepreneurs who are holding true to their vision and values as they build businesses founded on cutting edge ideas. Presenters included: 

  • Melissa Hanson of Kelpful, sustainable products harvested from the sea;  
  • Dr. Veronica Jow of Avid Sports Medicine, a platform to access the same level of holistic healthcare provided to elite athletes; 
  • Bennet Harvey of ReNews Media, an innovative model for the future of American news media; 
  • Benjamin Kranz of Brite-Liter, a parent-friendly tool that promotes early childhood literacy; and 
  • Dr. Manijeh Motaghy of Perfectly Here, an institute that promotes mindfulness as a tool for transformation.

In this one hour session, the speakers shared valuable insights about their mission-driven business models and demonstrated how they are creating positive social change in their communities. To learn more and get inspired by some of today’s most passionate and innovative changemakers, watch the recording below!

Kelpful: Transforming a Love of the Sea into a Successful Regenerative Aquaculture Business in a Burgeoning Industry

Kelpful: Transforming a Love of the Sea into a Successful Regenerative Aquaculture Business in a Burgeoning Industry

Photo by Kelpful

Innovative business models enable us to explore sustainable entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s problems. Seaweed food and body-care company Kelpful showcases how companies can find business success and create a positive impact while living their values. 

A women-founded, worker-owned cooperative in San Luis Obispo, California, Kelpful turns wild-harvested seaweed into culinary products such as kombu, nori and “sea sprinkles” seasoning, and body-care products such as soaps, masks, and body scrubs. Melissa Hanson and Jules Marsh founded Kelpful in 2020 with the mission of stewarding marine ecosystems and building resilience in coastal communities through regenerative aquaculture.

As the world seeks innovative solutions to address pollution and climate change, businesses have the opportunity to explore new solutions to neutralize and reverse our carbon footprint. Requiring no fertilizers, pesticides, freshwater, or arable land to grow, kelp is a nutritious food source that is among the world’s most sustainable crops. It’s low on the marine food chain, does not rely on other marine life for food, and provides habitat for other species. 

As food prices rise and we examine resource-extractive industrial farming practices, kelp farming has emerged as an elegant way to support human, planetary, and oceanic health. By 2028, the global commercial seaweed market is expected to reach nearly $25 billion, putting Kelpful at the forefront of a burgeoning industry. One of a few organizations invited to establish operations at the largest land-based seawater aquaculture facility in the United States, Kelpful aims to continue to grow and use its brand to revolutionize regenerative agriculture.

In this Q&A, Kelpful co-founder Melissa Hanson shares a few of the lessons they’ve learned as their business has grown. 

 

How would you say our current dietary and agricultural habits are affecting our ecosystems? 

We’re not living in reciprocity with our planet. We’re taking more than we’re giving at an alarming rate, and we’re all experiencing the consequences. In order to change the tide, we need to meet our needs in a way that restores and regenerates the Earth.

Kelpful is a worker-owned cooperative. What made you decide that was the right structure for your company?

We believe our current economy is deeply flawed. It’s working very well to do what it was designed to do: concentrate and extract wealth into the hands of a few. We see that as deeply problematic. Worker ownership is an important piece of building a new economy based on radically different principles. We believe people deserve to share in the fruits of their labor, and that worker ownership offers the opportunity for a more dignified way to earn a living that gives everyone some level of agency in their workplace. We also see it as a critically important piece of building a successful business. Science shows that more diverse decision-making groups yield better decisions and better outcomes. 

What kind of demand and competition have you seen for your product?  

Globally, the market is vast and growing rapidly. It’s nascent here in the United States, but it’s catching on. Our biggest competition is imported seaweed from Asia and other regeneratively farmed seaweed from the East Coast. There are only a handful of producers on the West Coast, including in Alaska. Locally, we basically have zero competition. There’s nobody else doing what we’re doing. We are the only seaweed vendor at the farmer’s market. Nobody’s ever seen local seaweed for sale before. And people are really excited about it. They love our products.

Can you speak about surprising sources of growth you’ve observed in your sales?

We’re popular with tourists because we have something unique that people have never seen before. It’s very place-based, so they can take home a little piece of the place they visited. We are also popular for holiday gift-giving and we do a lot of holiday markets.

 

Kelpful was featured in one of our recent Changemaker Showcase events, an hour-long session featuring five companies that transformed their ideas into business realities without compromising their vision or values. Watch our July 2022 Changemaker Showcase to hear more insights and innovative solutions using business as a force for good.

Are you a mission-driven entrepreneur looking to grow your business? Sign up for our Raise Capital on Your Own Terms: Build it, Fund it, Grow It virtual event on November 2-4. This three-day workshop will help you explore the structure, techniques, and insights to find the right investors and fund your business on your own terms. Register here!