You go girl! Women entrepreneurs build companies chock full of diversity

By: Lee Porter Tuesday August 20, 2013 1 comments Tags: blogs, Lean In, Nerdwaller

By Lee Porter


Earlier this year, NerdWallet listed Denver as 9th best in the nation for women entrepreneurs with 30.1 percent of businesses owned by women. The story was picked up by Forbes, Entrepreneur and others. (See the infographic from Intuit here)

A lot of talk about diversity in the workplace has been spinning around since Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, published her book Lean In  that contends although there is a systematic boys club atmosphere in business, much of what holds women back are their own fears and apprehensions.

Can women create their own business ecosystems? That's the topic of a Sept. 3 event in Boulder at Macky Auditorium called Startup Phenomenon Women.

The Van Heyst folks who pulled this event together have reached into big companies (Google) and small (The Cotery) to create a day-long event that explores everything from serial entrepreneurship to funding to talent and diversity in the workplace.

A 'little sister' to the main event "Startup Phenomenon" in November, SP Women will attack the source of the problem (women's grounding in science and technology, i.e., STEM) and a number of other obstacles along the way (role models in media, i.e., Hollywood) as well as the topic I consider to be the connective tissue of business today: money and access to investment.

One such investor, Kelly Hoey of the women's VC firm Women Innovate Mobile, is featured as our latest InnovatioNews INterview. Hoey's background includes a leadership role in 85Broads, the ultimate women's power circle.

In Colorado, women are organizing to support each other and counter the disadvantages they find in starting new businesses and get what they need to be successful. Here are just a few of those efforts:

Moxie Exchange, the brainchild of Fort Collins entrepreneur Maureen Berkner Boyt, is a great example of this. Organized around the principal of mutual mentorship, Moxie has chapters across the country.

A shout-out to StartupDenver Female Entrepreneurs Monthly meetup and the work of Lizelle van Vuuren to bring together a diverse group of women who are making it happen.

The Colorado Women's Chamber also brings together business women for leadership education, networking and issues advocacy.

Women with great ideas start businesses all the time, and the obstacles to success are far fewer than in years past. As a female entrepreneur, I relish the opportunity to create something new, to rise to the challenge of running a business and add to the conversation of why innovation is the engine of our economy.

If I can do that in a way that promotes diversity, encourages new companies and ideas and creates something of lasting value, I'm happy.

I'm also excited to be part of a movement with this kind of estrogen.

Click here to view the Startup Woman Phenomenon event photo gallery
Lee Porter

About the Author: Lee Porter

Lee Porter is the publisher of InnovatioNews. She has extensive media and marketing experience--local, business and national. 

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