The motto for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange. To affect change is within our powers but we must work together to make it happen.
The lack of diversity – importantly, the lack of women founders has been recognized as a major gap within the tech industry for many years.
It is why I am involved with TEx Ventures. Walking into startup events, I am hyper-aware of being sometimes the only woman. As a minority woman, it is even more. I remember attending an event a few years back, where I was literally the only business woman there – feeling both the urge to run and stay to represent. I want to change that by creating more opportunities for others to join in.
A survey by the Kauffman Foundation noted that 72 percent of women entrepreneurs indicated that access to capital was an issue. According to Bloomberg, women made up only 7 percent of those who received venture capital funding. When you factor in women of color – it decreases even further – many founders of color cite that they cannot even get into a pitch meeting. A symptom of the fact that the ecosystem relies heavily on networks – that which is predominantly made of male, white founders and investors.
We know that diversity is good for business. There are examples of women business leaders that are change-agents for their industries – such as, Indra Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg, Ursula Burns, Chanda Kochhar and Lucy Peng. However, they are but only a handful compared to the possibilities.
We know that by advancing women’s equality alone, we can add $12 trillion to global growth. However, the culture within the startup ecosystem remains to a large degree – exclusionary. Change is hard and slow – diversity is a just conversation, not a priority – unconscious biases remains an issue.
So how do we be #BeBoldforChange and make it happen for real? Investors are the key. They have the power to implement real change. Investing in women-led startups makes sense. Women make up half the global population – not having their voices heard when it comes to innovation and investing is simply blindsided. That is why, one of our main pillars at TEx Ventures is to help mentor, fund and accelerate the formation and growth of women-led startups all the way to Series A – opening doors for both diverse founders and investors.
Let’s celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day with real commitment to change. At TEx Ventures we are committed to working with both the ecosystem and women entrepreneurs to create more opportunities for investments in women-led startups. We’re looking to support women of color founders and investors. Know of an amazing woman we should meet? Let us know!
Together let’s #BeBoldforChange year-round.
By: Sumi Shan, Co-Founder, TEx Ventures