Women in the startup world tend to make news not because of what they are doing but because of what they aren’t. Put more simply: everyone likes to write about how there are no women―or too few women―making moves in the technosphere.
So is the startup world really an all boys club or is this just another story that the media has caught onto and wants to run with?
By pointing out most tech startups are run by men, we’re reinforcing the idea that the tech world is inhospitable to women entrepreneurs.
While there’s no doubt that the tech world is traditionally male-dominated, women are making inroads everyday and it’s time to give them the props that they deserve.
Getting things started
Where should a woman with an awesome idea, a love of technology, and a good team turn for support? Let’s start at the beginning: accelerator programs.
I wrote previously about NewMe, a California-based accelerator focusing on woman and minority led startups. NewMe is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There are groups all over the United States who exist expressly to encourage and aid companies run by women. Check out Founder Labs, Women Innovate Mobile, RampCorp, Springboard Enterprises and Astia, just to get an idea of who’s out there.
Who has the money?
Once you’ve got your feet on the ground and it’s time to take that awesome idea to the next level, it’s time to pin down the cash. Research shows that women traditionally raise money outside of the standard angel investor/venture capital route that is common for startups: utilizing familial networks, going into into debt, and crowd sourcing.
However, there are plenty of companies that want to connect enterprising women with the money to make it happen. Some of the more established ones include BELLE Capital, Golden Seeds, Phenomenelle Angels, KC Women’s Capital Connection, Illuminate Ventures, Texas Women Ventures, and Women’s Venture Fund.
Get it seen
If you make it past the initial development stage and your idea starts becoming a successful reality, you need to show it off to the world. To get some buzz on the internet, you should pitch your story to anyone who will listen, but you may have better luck with sites that have a focus on women run companies.
Conferences are obviously great places to network, but they’re also a way to put your idea in front of people who can make things happen for you. As the number of women in tech grows, so does the number of conferences focusing on female entrepreneurs.
Women 2.0 has an annual conference called PITCH which in the past has included tech hotshots like Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, and Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar. Other conferences with a focus on women include the We Own It Summit and the Women Entrepreneurs Festival.
Who says there’s no support for women in the tech world? If you think you’ve got what it takes, it doesn’t matter what your chromosomes are and as more women take advantage of these awesome resources, it’s only going to get better. It’s time to push past people’s preconceived ideas about women in tech and make things happen!
Photo and Video Credits