With the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, it’s only fitting that Issue 2 of Groove magazine showcases some of the extraordinary women of Groove.
(If you haven’t heard, we’ve launched a groovy magazine – aptly named Groove Magazine – that brings you original, informative content right to your mailbox each month. Subscribe here.)
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #EachForEqual, in a call to empower women to fight bias in industry, challenge outdated stereotypes, and gain a greater share in the entrepreneurial space. Particularly so in industries that have traditionally been male-dominated or incredibly challenging for women to break into.
Fortunately, the rise in women entrepreneurship means that female change makers are driving innovation in the business world, often leaving their corporate jobs to begin their own ventures or even rejoining the workforce after a period of absence. Either way, their success rate is soaring and there are a number of companies that are stepping up to help women launch their businesses as well as individuals who are providing some inspiration along the way.
Unfortunately, not all women are utilizing women-centric resources, presumably because there’s already a plethora of general resources available. But it would be remiss not to take advantage of those more specific business resources that will help you grow your business in a way that is tailored to your experience in the world. Additionally, you also get to connect with other female business owners, all of whom are at varying stages of their career and can connect you to the thing that you need to get to the next level.
Vivek Wadwha has written extensively and published academic articles on the lack of women entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech sector. She argues, backed by data, the following for women-run businesses:
- Firms founded by women are more capital efficient than those founded by men.
- Women-led tech startups have lower failure rates than those led by men.
- Venture-backed companies run by women have 12% higher annual revenues than those run by men.
- Organizations that are proactively inclusive of women in top management positions achieve a 35% higher return on equity.
At Groove, we are dedicated to the idea that gender and cultural diversity matters in all spheres. And when it comes to women in tech, we want to work together to close the gender gap and encourage women to embrace technology.
Online startups are something that has been in the work-at-home-mom space for over a decade, and yet few have embraced the entrepreneurial title as well as “mommy blogger” Heather B. Armstrong. What once started as a side hustle blog, she soon scaled into a full-fledged business that now includes an ecommerce store and a podcast.
If you are that woman who is ready to step into her entrepreneurial venture and dominate the market with your unique selling proposition, then this article is intended as a dedicated resource for creating a gender-equal world through female-focused investors, accelerators, VC funding, networks, and initiatives. It will be continuously updated, to keep up-to-date with the most relevant information at the time.
Women – Centric Resources for Start-ups
We will cover multiple resources, in these segments:
- Conferences and Events
- Virtual Communities
- VC Funding
Conferences & Events
Networking is key in business, we’ve all heard that before. But it’s easier said than done to just walk up to a group of strangers and introduce yourself. But that’s the beauty of conferences and events, it’s expected that you do so.
A conference has everything you need in one place, and they are crucial opportunities for women to meet other influential people in their industry. Better yet, a curated list of speakers with a unique female perspective means that you will have professional development opportunities to better invest in yourself.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many of these events are now virtual. This means you don’t even have to travel to attend, you can grow your professional network in the comfort of your sweatpants (although we still recommend wearing actual pants).
Grace Harper Celebration. The annual, and now virtual, Grace Hopper Celebration is the largest gathering of women technologists in the world and is presented by AnitaB.org. It is a four-day event that has hosted high calibre speakers like Melinda Gates and features unique development tracks for technologists.
Women in Tech Summit (WITS). Usually hosted as five regionally-based conferences, now gone virtual, that are curated to educate, inspire, and connect women around the world. The summit hosts women technologists from a variety of fields. The goal of the summit is to keep women at the forefront of technological trends through workshops.
We Are Tech Women Virtual Conference 2021. Supporting women in tech, this annual event brings together women in tech leaders and chairs from a diverse range of industries to share best practices and facilitate education.
She Summit. This isn’t specific to tech, but it’s a two-day networking event that is dedicated to personal development – covering tech as one of the topics. The speakers touch on all things inclusion and social impact in the workplace, and how to create real organizational change.
Women Transforming Technology. A consortium of companies and organizations in industry, academica, and non-profit sectors all come together to address issues head on that women at all levels in tech experience. This year’s theme is “Resilience”, referencing one’s ability to know how to cope with setbacks or limited resources.
We Are Tech Women Events Calendar. Choose from hundreds of events to network and upskill yourself, even by just attending one each month throughout the year.
Before Clubhouse took over, podcasts were a thing. You’ll be happy to know that they still are. The great thing about podcasts is that you can kill two birds with one stone! Well, we don’t advocate for harming animals, but we love efficiency.
Although many podcasts are recorded and uploaded to YouTube, originally they were intended to be audio-only which means you can be handsfree. Next time you’re driving, washing dishes, taking the dog for a walk, or any other mundane activity, put a podcast on!
Women at Work. The Harvard Business Review’s podcast that discusses male-dominated industry, female leadership, and building sisterhood in your professional life.
She Did It Her Way. All entrepreneurs have a story, and this podcast is dedicated to hearing all about the challenges female entrepreneurs faced when building a business. There’s a new guest each week.
So Money. Money, it can be an awkward topic. But businesses have to generate money to survive, and it’s a determining factor for a company’s success. This podcast features tips for revenue growth and overall financial health.
MADWomen Podcast. All about inspiring women in the marketing and ad industry to talk about their successes, failures and the lessons they’ve learned. The powerful women come together and provide insightful commentary on the state of work.
She Talks Tech. Everything from robotics to fintech, this podcast hosts an array of industry thought leaders who provide the latest information on tech in 2021.
Black Girls Nerds. An online community that is devoted to promoting “nerdiness” among women of color.
Girls Gone Boss. All about empowering and motivating the next generation of women to dream big, this podcast has in-depth conversations with real women.
FemGems. Startup life is tough and unpredictable. Tune in for first-hand accounts and insights on the barriers to entry for female entrepreneurs.
SideHustlePro. Nicaila was able to quit her full-time job and go full-time with her side hustle, by sharing tips on the podcast and launching her own initiatives.
Goal Digger. Everything you need to know about social media marketing and hiring strategies for women-owned businesses that are looking to scale (while raising a family).
Honestly, books deserve an entire blog post on their own. No need to get into tens of thousands of dollars in debt or enroll in a bunch of certification programs, just skip a Starbucks coffee or two and purchase a life-changing book instead.
Banking On It: How I Disrupted an Industry by Anne Boden
Boden had a long career at Britain’s leading banks, and eventually found herself disillusioned by it all. After the financial crash, and frustrated with the industry, she decided to do something nobody expected: Setting up her own bank.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Perez
Award-winning writer and campaigner Caroline Perez promises to deliver a shocking discovery and account of gender bias that affects women’s lives on a daily basis. Her book explicates how, in a world largely built for and by men, women are systematically ignored. It is a powerful read on topics that include government policy, medical research, technology, workplaces, urban planning, and the media.
Female Innovators at Work: Women on Top of Tech by Danielle Newnham
Newnham discusses the experiences and successes of female entrepreneurs in a largely male-dominated tech scene. Included in the book is a wide range of interviews with CEOs, founders and inventors, who all poignantly share their insights and advice on how to navigate the tech world while being a woman.
Demanding More: Why Diversity and Inclusion Don’t Happen and What You Can Do About It by Sheree Atcheson
This is a book that goes beyond HR terminology and explains exactly what diversity means in the case of millions of people each day, personally and professionally. She argues for the rapid adoption of allyship and provides the best tools and strategies for doing so.
Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Shelleye Archambeau
Archambeau walks the reader through how she overcame the challenges she faced as a young, black woman at IBM, climbing the ranks up to her role as President and CEO. The book details the risks she took and the strategies employed to steer her family, her career, and her company towards success.
We only have good things to say about blogs around here. They are an excellent resource for easy-to-digest information and a great time saver for finding a curated list of everything you’re looking for, much like this very article.
Of course, not everything said online should be taken as fact. Although blogs are rated as the fifth most reliable source of information, always check and double-check your sources, but you can usually just use good ol’ common sense and a bit of an online search to verify.
The Women On Business. Founded in 2007, this blog is a great resource for women seeking career advice and entrepreneurial tips. The Women on Business Blog features regular posts from marketing guru Susan Gunelius, as well as guest posts from community members and experts across the globe.
SCORE. Mentorship can help a women business owner learn and grow from a more experienced entrepreneur. That’s why Score promotes their mentorship program! In addition, they have a blog, which boasts inspiring stories, cool infographics, and interactive workshops for business owners. Overall, it’s certainly a business resource that you should frequently visit.
ClickNewz. With over 15 years experience as an internet marketer, Lynn Terry has an exciting blog that is jam-packed with content that is meant to help you succeed in your online business.
Women 2.0. Created for innovative women in the tech industry, but covers topics in and outside of the workplace. Their content covers an array of topics, both inside and outside of the workplace, and provides resources that guide you through tech management, financing in tech, important industry skills, and so much more.
Built By Girls. Statistics show that some STEM roles still see fewer women than men. Data shows that navigating the industry from the classroom to the workplace can be multidimensionally challenging for women. This tech blog is a great resource for recent grads or those looking to get into the industry.
Find your tribe. You have to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are interested and passionate about the same things you are. A community will not only help keep you accountable, but it will make the entrepreneurial journey less daunting and also be an invaluable resource for knowledge sharing.
Girlboss. One of the biggest and most popular online resources for women in the workplace, Girlboss is a platform that lets women build profiles and share their accomplishments with other tech leaders. It is the ultimate network of businesswomen who offer advice, support, and congratulations to other women in the group.
WeAreVirtual. As part of a WeAreTechWomen’s initiative, this is a free webinar series (no sales pitches) to support individuals during the COVID pandemic to learn and engage online.
Systers. Founded in 1987 by Anita Borg (AnitaB.org) as one of the first private and safe spaces for women technologists. Their vision is to inspire, drive, and help members through professional challenges.
Change Catalyst. Created as a direct response to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley. They are building inclusive tech ecosystems through startup programs, resources, and events.
The pandemic has had a large impact on family caretakers, largely women, yet simultaneously it has presented a chance for investors to invest in startups that address some of the pressing issues that are faced by women (by investing in women founders). In 2020, women raised less capital. The total funding to female-led startups declined compared to 2019 – although the funding amounts for female-only companies does fluctuate annually.
Not every company goes on to achieve unicorn status like Glossier or Rent the Runway (companies with valuation of $1 billion or more), but that’s not the only important outcome in VC. There is a strong need to provide mentorship and the starter-fuel that will propel female-led launch teams into entrepreneurial success.
The venture capital industry is still very much a boy’s club, with over 90% of decision makers at VC firms being male. Here are some of the firms that are proactively looking to change that.
How Women Invest. Focused on “Gender-lens investing 2.0,” this new fund believes that the current venture capital ecosystem has inequitable systems. They operate from the viewpoint that female founders are an untapped venture capital landscape and boast a professional network of 13,000 women to identify high-potential founders.
SoGal Ventures. This is the very first female-led, next generation venture capital firm. It represents and believes in the power of human-centric design, and focuses on diverse founding teams in the U.S. and Asia.
January Ventures. No revenue. No pitch deck. No warm intro required. That’s the level of accessibility and transparency that January Ventures have set as their standard for investing early. In an attempt to level the playing field and create equal opportunity, it has forgone the traditional rules and investing in the founders of the future.
Backstage Capital. The founder of this fund has invested in over 170 companies that are led by underrepresented founders, be it women, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+ founders.
Astia. As a global organization, Astia has an unmatched network of advisors and investors who support female-led companies into the future. It follows trends and innovators, rather than specific industries.
All Raise. An organization that advocates for female founders and investors, and has an ambitious target for growing seed and early-stage funding. On their website, they say that they want to create a culture where women are at the forefront of leading and shaping the future.
Perhaps you’ve just begun your business and you’re knee-deep in the startup life, or perhaps you’re looking to go beyond the work-at-home side hustle and run a business. Whichever stage you’re at, there’s fortunately a growing index of women-centric resources available to guide you through – particularly as it relates to the tech industry.
And as you pave the way in your own unique journey, keep in mind that you also have the power to uplift other women entrepreneurs along the way by simply sharing your story and experiences too. Ultimately, that’s what many of these women and communities listed above have done. Apart from the intrinsic value, there is also great financial incentive and opportunities for investing back into female-founded startups.
So whether you’re in ecommerce, digital marketing, affiliate marketing, or any other online business model, pick a handful of these resources to incorporate into your weekly schedule and make time to stay up to date on new developments, as well as engage in some broader social conversations around gender inclusivity in the entrepreneurial landscape.