Fenugreen FreshPaper in The Washington Post May 13 2015

"Kavita Shukla started her company a few years ago at a farmers market with $300 dollars and an idea that had been ruminating since a middle school science project.

A decade later, her vision –- a piece of paper infused with spices that would keep food fresh — is shipped to families and farmers in 35 countries.

FreshPaper — inspired by a home remedy given to Shukla by her grandmother — is knocking it out of the park.

“For such a long time, I was told I needed more money,” she told a crowd of 250 rapt women (and a few men) Friday at the Post’s Women in Small Business live event. “I almost lost hope.”

Indeed, money — and the difficulty women have borrowing and raising it — was the recurring theme among the audience and speakers that also included Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras-Sweet, Georgetown Cupcake founders Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, Personal Independence Trust chair Nell Merlino, and Katherine Jollon Colsher, national Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Before joining SBA, Contreras-Sweet founded three of her own small business, including a community bank in California and a private equity firm. She said her frustration with the banking systems is what led her to start her own. She would gather women and say to them, “You always tell me you’re frustrated with our own institutions. We need to build ownership. So let’s get together and build a bank of our own.”

The Georgetown Cupcake sisters said no’s and shut-doors were common when they started their first brick-and-mortar shop in 2008, a Georgetown suite smaller than their current Georgetown location.

“[Banks] were skeptical,” said LaMontagne. “Most of the bankers we met with were male.”

Shukla, whose company is called Fenugreen, filed for a patent when she was a senior in high school. Her goal was to get her paper to people in Africa and India who, like her grandmother, didn’t have access to refrigeration.

That was when she started going to the farmers market. “Frankly, the money made a big difference. It funded our first production facility. It funded our ability to get into Whole Foods. It funded us getting out of my apartment,” she said..."

Read the entire article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-live/wp/2015/05/08/how-can-women-raise-money-let-us-count-the-ways/