Time, Training and Investment
People often ask me why women aren’t founding companies. The easy answer is that startups are really hard for everyone. It’s a complex topic with many facets to it. Fundamentally, if we want to become competitive and drive economic growth and value in business, we must invest in all our talent. We need to challenge our educational systems to set higher standards, which will re-set expectations and drive change.
Thinking about what I learned as a child or what my children are learning before they turn 19, I find myself wondering where the courses and standards are for the exact areas that often lead to startup failure featured in Entrepreneur Magazine such as: staying focused, communication, speech and healthy debate, harnessing the power of passion, how to stay motivated, commitment, how to actively listen and move beyond pride, navigating the sea of information, identifying mentors, financial
literacy, managing money, operational management, marketing, diplomacy, ideation, conflict management.
Furthermore, failure is hard for everyone. Does the idea of investing your blood, sweat and tears into something that may fail sound tantalizing to you? Well, according to a Fast Company Magazine article titled, “Why Most Venture-Backed Companies Fail” they found 75% of venture-backed startups fail based on statistics from a Harvard Business School study. Perhaps why when I present at career fairs, I’m not getting questions about become an entrepreneur. Interesting since the average age of startup founders is 26 based on the average age of funded startups in the YCombinator program. Interesting enough, a prominent topic in the Brekkie for Boss program at Girlmade is just that, fundraising. What does it mean, how does one go about navigating this complex process and who to trust as your fiduciary partner. After all, when you may not have capital or enough inventories as small business owner in order to qualify for a traditional loan, your livelihood may depend on it. This is why I’m excited about funds like Audacity. They are taking on new approaches to invest in female founded companies, with unique terms that allow women to realize their dreams through funding. Perhaps if modify our current approach to invest our time and resources, we may be rewarded with new outcomes.
I for one am investing in ventures with diverse and inclusive thinking, STEAM education and female founders since I believe our future is dependent upon our ability to innovate and grow together. Therefore I encourage everyone extend invitations for new conversation’s that foster inspire innovative thinking in order to drive change, because “you are never too old for a major breakthrough.” In closing, I’d like highlight the fact that the Small Business Optimism Index in January 2018 set a record with the number of small business owners saying that now is a good time to expand and according to a recent Microsoft Store and SurveyMonkey study, 90% of small business plan to hire in 2018 depending on their budgets.