A common theme Alicia Scott reiterates when talking about entrepreneurship is connections. The new executive director of women-focused business accelerator Launchpad2X believes that connections, from advisors to other founders, can be the ingredient that propels an entrepreneur to success.
It’s how she built her own career.
“Who you know and who can connect you with what you need is super important,” says Scott. “Women need a level of support that can fuel them when the going gets rough, so intentional networking is key.”
She wants to continue nurturing this type of supportive community in this new role at Launchpad2X, while building on her own entrepreneurial development experience.
“As an underserved, underbanked, and underfunded demographic, women must rely on solid networks of other successful women to help connect them to the resources they require to be successful,” she says.
Scott started her career in the financial sector in Los Angeles, where she held several executive management positions with National Planning Holdings, Pacific Life Insurance and Countrywide Bank.
She made the move from the financial sector to non-profit, following a campaign for the Georgia House of Representatives.
Scott then worked with Savannah’s city council to develop what is now called the Small Business Opportunity Ordinance, which reformed the city’s supplier diversity policy. The new ordinance engaged small businesses that are often at a disadvantage when it comes to public contracting.
Most recently, she was executive director of the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation in Savannah.
“What attracted me to this role was the opportunity to work in a space that helps develop the actual founder rather than just her business,” says Scott.
“Launchpad2X focuses on building value in the CEOs. The program focuses on developing the woman founder as an entrepreneur in addition to getting their pitches right, profitability and product.”
In a recent report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, education is listed as one of the most effective factors to close the gender gap in capital, revenue, and intellectual property.
Scott echoes those efforts as she talks about the impact LaunchPad2X has had on the entrepreneurs that have participated in the intensive core program since 2012.
“We need more than teaching women to read their spreadsheets and create a P&L statement. We need to speak to the rest of who they are and how they can incorporate that into being a great CEO,” says Scott.
The founder-to-CEO development program, founded by veteran and entrepreneur Bernie Dixon, has graduated hundreds of companies. More than 40 of them have now reached the $1 million ARR mark.
“At a non-profit, our goal is actually not to make a profit, but to build value in the people that participate in our programs,” Scott says. “And that’s something that speaks to me. With my experience, I want to help grow millionaires.”
Her next mandate? LaunchPad2X plans to expand the core program nationally, bringing entrepreneurs from beyond the Southeast to Atlanta. She will be building internal guidances and processes to be able to increase program capacity.
“We’ll be reaching out and looking for national sponsors to expand our existing programming and revamping out workshops to bring more value to the participants,” says Scott.
While they only accept 25 companies every year, Scott says that they will be concentrating on bringing a “a wider range of company types, across all demographics and ethnicities as well as product offerings and industries.”
To increase that diversity, LaunchPad2X is offering scholarships for qualifying applicants. “We’d like to be able to extend more of those so that we can fund women coming from other states to come and stay here,” Scott says.
“The goal is to bring more exposure to what we’re doing on the ground in Atlanta to a much wider audience.”