Startup America & Women Entrepreneurs

By February 10, 2011

Female CEOs of Startups
written by Marion Mangoubi of Sassy CEO

Lack of women in leadership roles at and/or women founding high-growth tech companies has been a hot topic online and off for several months now with good reason. When you hear that women start businesses at twice the rate of men but you don’t see as many women starting high-growth tech companies, you wonder what is going on. I recently asked a few women organizations around town how many of their members owned tech oriented companies and found that, at minimum, there are 36 — 50 in Chicago. We will hopefully increase our numbers soon though with the help of the new public/private initiative – Startup America — that President Obama announced recently. (Techcrunch’s recent post offered some more details on the new initiative).

Entrepreneurs have long played a vital role in creating jobs, usually with minimal assistance from the public sector. So to have this new initiative in place is exciting. This initiative aims to bring the private and public sectors together to support entrepreneurs in high-growth areas via guidance, mentoring and access to capital. Three areas women have long sought out help in when trying to grow their businesses.
So how can Startup America help grow the number of women tech entrepreneurs?

  • There’s the opportunity to connect with organizations like Astia, a global non-profit who is dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs build value-added networks with investors, industry leaders, advisors and service providers. They have helped over 110 companies including our own, Marbles: The Brain Store.
  • The potential to participate in Facebook’s Startup Days. Facebook plans to host 12 — 15 events across the country. The events will offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to network and connect with needed resources such as engineers and developers while coming together to focus on various business topics. Keep your eyes and ears open as hopefully Facebook’s Chicago office will be hosting at least 2 or 3 of these events.
  • The well-respected TechStars mentoring program is expanding, forming a network around the county. They plan to provide entrepreneurs access to their network of 5,000 mentors.
  • MassChallenge, the largest global competition, will offer 1,000 entrepreneurs entrance into their successful accelerator programs.

These opportunities should help expand women entrepreneurs’ over the next few years so long as we actively participate.

Marian Mangoubi is the founder of Sassy CEO, an online community for women entrepreneurs to connect with and learn from other women as they launch and grow their own “empires”. You can connect with her via twitter, facebook or her site