Alum works to fill funding gap for women entrepreneurs

Judy Hutchison portraitAn alumna of Willamette’s inaugural MBA for Professionals cohort is helping to lead a local effort to support women entrepreneurs.

Judy Hutchison MBA ’08, who also worked for Willamette MBA as a recruiter and admission counselor, is the director of lending for the Portland-based XXcelerate Fund, “an innovative solution for small business funding for women entrepreneurs who have encountered challenges securing venture capital investments or qualifying for bank loans,” she says.

“Despite all evidence that suggests women-led businesses have a superior track record of success and repayment, they are grossly underfunded compared to their male counterparts,” Hutchison says. “XXcelerate Fund was created to be a new approach to this age-old problem, and it exemplifies the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that breaks outdated paradigms.”

The XXcelerate Fund is currently seeking its first $1 million in grant funding so that loans can be made to solve this funding gap. Also, the group has just announced its first XXcelerator cohort, the education, mentorship and peer support program that will support women entrepreneurs.  The second and third cohorts will be launched in 2018.

Hutchison, a Portland native who has held various executive positions in the banking industry and currently provides professional grant writing and fund development consultation, says the MBA for Professionals program “encourages broad thinking, action, and community involvement,” all of which have prepared her for her role at XXcelerate.

“The Willamette MBA coursework provides a solid foundation and framework, but graduates are expected to put skills to use in practical applications in the real world,” Hutchison says. “My work with the XXcelerate Fund is a great example of that application.”