SCORE Mentors Bad Girl Ventures to Success
Only in her early 30’s, Candace Klein has quite a life story to tell. She grew up as 1 of 5 children living on welfare in a trailer park and was the first in her family to attend college, earning 4 bachelor degrees from Northern Kentucky University in just 4 years, with a 4.0 GPA. She planned to go to law school in San Diego after graduation and packed up her Geo Metro to drive across the country but was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April 2003. The burden of treatment and medical bills delayed her goals but she was soon put in touch with Alice Sparks who sat on the Board of Regents at NKU. After a single lunch meeting, Alice agreed to pay $40,000 for her law school education that day. When asked how she could ever repay such an incredible gift, Alice simply replied, "find a way to invest in women." And Candace has done just that.
With a law degree in hand, Candace began serving clients with a focus on real estate and government affairs. In June of 2009, she started her own law practice serving woman-owned business clients. She saw these clients struggling financially and “became obsessed” with alternative forms of lending, trying to get money into the hands of her clients. She quickly realized that none of the options out there were enough, her clients also needed financial education. That’s when she sought out the help of SCORE. In March 2010 she launched Bad Girl Ventures and has since educated over 300 women and helped them raise over $2 million in financing.
BGV is dedicated to its mission of building and sustaining well-managed, profitable women owned businesses by providing female entrepreneurs with guidance, education, and access to capital. Perhaps most importantly, BGV provides these services in a unique woman focused environment that facilitates collaboration. BGV’s programs and projects serve three primary objectives: 1) helping female entrepreneurs access the capital needed to start their businesses; 2) providing female entrepreneurs with the education needed to manage their business successfully; and 3) surrounding female entrepreneurs with the support networks needed to sustain their business.
The work has revealed even more opportunities in the field of small business financing and Candace has since launched SoMoLend, an internet debt-based non-equity crowdfunding platform. Candace has become a leading expert on crowdfunding and has been written up locally, by Forbes Magazine and The NY Times. She was called in to testify by Congress on the Jobs Act and she is chair of a committee working with the Security Exchange Commission to establish regulations for crowdfunding.
In addition to utilizing SCORE mentors to educate its clientele, Bad Girl Ventures also seeks the advice of its own SCORE mentor, Carlin Stamm, to guide the organization’s development and growth.
This mentor relationship has helped BGV handle the rapid growth they experienced in their first two years in operation. SCORE has assisted BGV in developing a strong business model, developing a strong funding model and implementing internal infrastructure to strengthen the organization.