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Oct 2011
27
October 27, 2011

Warner attorney sees value of investing in women-owned businesses


As a corporate attorney, Linda Paullin-Hebden has seen a lot of disparity in the treatment of entrepreneurs based on their gender.

She knows firsthand that it can be much more difficult for a woman with a great business idea to secure a bank loan or attract investors. It can even be difficult to find an attorney. She remembers an early conversation with a now long-time client and female business owner who complained that she went to a male attorney who treated her as if she didn’t know what she was talking about.

“About 10 years ago, I was talking with some women in Detroit and I said that we should start a fund,” recalls Paullin-Hebden, a partner in Warner’s Southfield office. “Few venture funds or angels invest in women-owned businesses, which has always been a big issue for me.”

Paullin-Hebden assisted the founders of BELLE Capital with its launch in November, 2010. Their focus is to invest in early-stage women-owned or women-led businesses that pertain to clean technology, information technology, advanced automotive or other areas. The focus of the investments will be in Michigan and other underserved geographic markets. Paullin-Hebden and Warner will continue to serve as legal counsel to BELLE Capital and will represent the fund in its investments.

Paullin-Hebden knows that women investing in women help those businesses succeed. Recently, an angel-backed women-owned business received a bank loan. “Getting a bank loan is significant for a woman-owned company and reflects the kind of progress we like to see,” Paullin-Hebden explains. “Early investors fund the initial growth, nurturing the company to a point that the company can sustain operations through traditional bank financing.”

“It’s so exciting to see a business run by women get the same kind of financial support that has traditionally been reserved for male-owned businesses.”
 

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