Invest in diversity: A financial arm focuses on women, BIPOC, LGBTQ foundersInvest in diversity: A financial arm focuses on women, BIPOC, LGBTQ founders
The TIG Collective consists of investors and advisors who help shepherd members of underserved communities through early stages of fundraising and growth.
April 5, 2023
Let's start with the elephant in the room: There aren't enough women, BIPOC and LGBTQ people serving as advisors or board members for brands in the natural products industry.
Diversity is hugely important. If a brand wants a deep connection with its shoppers, then the people helping to shape the strategy and direction of the business must be representative of the communities they are trying to reach. It's that simple. I will take diversity one step further: The entrepreneurs who succeed surround themselves with diversity of thought. That requires people with divergent worldviews, cultural backgrounds and lived experiences.
Here is the challenge. Being an influential advisor or board member takes skill. If we want our advisors and boards to be more diverse, we need to start training the next generation.
There is more to this issue. Too many founders have no idea how to extract maximum value from their advisors. Let's be honest. Half of the time, advisors are for vanity—something to add to a pitch deck.
The more I wrestled with this, the more I realized that we could play a small but essential role in ensuring that our industry's boardrooms look more like the communities we serve. See how the TIG Collective works:
An entrepreneur interested in being part of the TIG Collective will execute an advisory agreement between it and their company. The contract will be pretty standard. They will also issue advisory shares or profit interests to the collective, vesting over two years.
An individual interested in becoming an advisor will complete an online questionnaire that helps establish their experience, subject matter expertise and skillsets. Once a fit is determined, individuals will sign an advisory agreement between themselves and the collective. The collective will issue profit interests that vest over two years. Advisors will share the potential upside of all the brands in the collective. We will focus on diversity recruiting women, BIPOC and LGBTQ. But we will also focus on the broader definition of diversity used above to include different worldviews, cultural backgrounds, and lived experiences.
We will match advisors and entrepreneurs based on current needs. An entrepreneur may require support in operations and supply chain. But down the road, finance, performance marketing and fundraising might be the critical issues. The collective allows for this flexibility.
We will conduct seminars on coaching, governance, finance and more for advisors. Simultaneously, we will host workshops with entrepreneurs, teaching them how to get the most value from their advisors. Topics will include agenda setting, accountability, reporting, meeting management, etc.
Our mission is to provide entrepreneurs with the diversity of thought and expertise they need to succeed while incubating the next generation of advisors and board members. The TIG Collective will do its part to ensure our boardrooms look more like the communities our industry serves. Join our venture community if you're an angel or an accredited investor. Visit TIG Venture Community to learn more and start investing differently.
Elliot Begoun is a 30-year industry veteran, author, podcast host, founder of TIG Brands and champion of Tardigrades. TIG Brands supports a community of entrepreneurs interested in building nimble, capital-efficient, resilient brands that become Tardigrades, not Unicorns. Learn more about TIG Brands’ programs.
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