Ever since my panel address at the UN’s Womenseday event, I’ve received a ton of emails, tweets and calls about advice for women to navigate through the startup ecosystem. Where should I raise capital? Are there female support networks? What roadblocks will I face as a female founder? Be honest, will men take me seriously? The list goes on.
At the end of the day, different women will have unique (often contradictory) perspectives on how to start and scale your company within a male dominated ecosystem. Yet wasting mental space on the biases, the roadblocks and chatter will take time away from your startup development. If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to “stop taking things personally…ignore critics unless they tell you something that can improve your business”- period. Furthermore, I wish I had a neon sign on my forehead for the idiots who think women can’t lead that says “don’t waste my time, let me connect with the influencers who will support me because of my character, traction and potential”. Unfortunately, life isn’t that simple. Sometimes you gotta learn the hard way.
So where do we go from here? The list below is not exhaustive and was not meant to be. It is simply an overview of female focused networks that can get you started. Note- don’t limit yourself to female networks only! Opportunities can come from anywhere. Just remember that its not only the guys who have the cool boys clubs. We got a hell of a cool click of networks too!
And when you hit great milestones; when you make waves; when you break barriers- MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS! I can’t stress enough how important it is that both aspiring men and women see gender neutral examples of success. We are constantly bombarded with media and cultural notions that the legends of the startup era are only Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk or any other “fill in blank” white male college drop out. Don’t get me wrong, they inspire me too, but they aren’t the only ones that transformed the tech world and how society functions. Even the little updates count. So yes post your story on social media, don’t avoid the press and help transform societal perceptions of success one story at a time.
Best of luck with your endeavors ladies! (Click on each photo below for a link list to resources)
Join female networks that have traction.
Raise capital with female forward networks.
Know the facts!
Accelerate to market with programs that back women
Don’t Do it Alone. Have a coaching circle.
Join Movements That Empower Women