Change the ratio: empowering women entrepreneurs
Several years ago, while working at her start-up,ShaheroseCharania noticed that most women she knew in tech were smart, hard workers and for some reason, scarcely founders of the projects they collaborated with. You find amazing, talented women leading teams in big corporations so why aren’t they starting their own companies?
The motivation of empowering other women by providing them with resources and promoting a community of peers propelled the creation ofWomen 2.0 with her co-founder,AngieChang. For years, this organization has worked closely with investors and women entrepreneurs to change the ratio.
Among their various activities FounderFriday stands out, a networking event with special hosts where attendees (women and men) exchange ideas and find valuable connections for their businesses. These events take place the first Friday of every month and although it is coordinated by Women 2.0 andEllas 2.0 (it’s sister organization for Spanish-speaking countries), it is possible thanks to local organizers.
Recently many Latin American cities have joined organizing local events, mostly because ofPatriciaAraque, Regional Manager of Women 2.0 for Spain and LatAm, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Bogotá and Mexico City are having their first Founder Friday this year.
In Mexico,AdrianaTortajada shared some of her personal experience leading one of the most important entrepreneurial funds by the government. Among the interesting facts of women in start-ups that she shared something stood out: 70% of working age women in Mexico are either single moms, divorced or widowed. That’s huge!
Adriana also shared some of her experience around funding Mexican companies and how it took several years for her to discover women at the head of companies, especially in tech start-ups. Even now, with many more seed funds and resources, many women don’t consider creating their own projects. Rather, it’s easier for them to have a freelance job or a position in a company that gives them flexibility with their time. Even so, when women start companies in Mexico, they tend to be focused on very local markets, specially because as long as the business continues, a certain lifestyle can be maintained.
This kind of facts raises questions around how can we create an environment that is welcoming for them, what resources are helpful and how can they be empowered. For many women attending the event this was not just another networking event but the possibility to have access to people and information to boost their chances of success. After all, to become an entrepreneur you need courage and a net of support.
A lot of work is still needed to change the ratio and increase the small percentage of women leading companies all over the world. For Mexico this is the beginning of a support group that will help create a chain of value for women entrepreneurs and shed some of the spotlight in the fearless women that against all odds have decided to take the risk of creating their own businesses. Ladies, get your nails polished and your cards printed, we are open for business.
Emprende.la focuses on entrepreneurial innovation in Mexico.