Thank you for stopping by and taking time to read this blog post. We presume you are a woman pursuing a dream venture or a man interested to know more about women in business and probably here to figure out how to contribute. Whoever you are, it is good to see you here! We are excited to take you through our new initiative “WE” at Headstart Network exclusively for Women Entrepreneurs.
Why an initiative exclusive for women?
Well, there has been a big debate among our team itself on the same question. Some of us supported the fact that entrepreneurship opportunities are rather the same for both genders, thereby questioning the need for an exclusive “Women Only” initiative/community while some opined otherwise. We hope that by the time you finish reading this blog, you will have some answers to it.
Women entrepreneurs may be defined as ‘Woman or a group of women who initiate, organize and run a business enterprise’. Government of India has defined women entrepreneurs based on women participation in equity and employment of a business enterprise. Accordingly, a woman-run enterprise is defined as ‘An enterprise owned and controlled by a woman having a minimum financial interest of 51% of the capital and giving at least 51% of the employment generated in the enterprise to women’. Women entrepreneurs constitute 10 % of all entrepreneurs in the country.
We might believe that the situation is a little better in the US, but even then, for every nine men raising equity financing to start and scale their businesses, only one woman does, according to a report by the National Women’s Business Council (US).
Women Entrepreneurs also fall into sub groups such as Homepreneurs, Mompreneurs and many more and every sub group has some specific needs. While ‘WE’ initiative will try to cover the larger goals of the community as a whole, we will also try our best to cater to the interests of the sub groups as well.
Something that has always bothered us is the low participation of women in the events that happen across the city. There are pitch events, co-founder search, founders’ mingle etc. and the sad reality is that typically 90% of the attendees are men. This happens for several reasons. We talked to few women who are running their business or aspiring to start one and here is what we heard:
“Most of the events are highly technology-centric while our businesses may not necessarily involve technology.”
“The comfort factor is missing in such gatherings dominated by men.”
“Many of these events are on weekdays and we can’t leave kids at home without supervision”
“We need peer support, preferably from women like us who have been able to start a venture given the similar circumstances of managing home and work.”
“We cannot attend 2 days hackathon leaving a toddler at home.
It is upsetting. While there is so much happening around us, women entrepreneurs are able to explore only a small fragment.”
We found this well-known but less talked about fact which happens to be an apt description of reality too:
“Business plan competitions and pitch forums are frequently about bravado and making ridiculous projections. Men excel at this. Women tend to be more conservative. This is the #1 complaint I get from the hundreds of women entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed,” said Vivek Wadhwa, academic, researcher, entrepreneur, and a vocal critic of the under funding of women-led companies by Silicon Valley (and a man). “When they [women] go to angel forums and the like, they feel intimidated and left out.”
What do ‘WE’ intend to do?
‘WE’ at Headstart Network
– want to sincerely put an effort to reduce some of these barriers and help women come out and explore in a community that helps, learns and grows together.
– want to infuse self confidence in first time women entrepreneurs so that they are able to headstart their journey with no constraints felt whatsoever.
– want the ecosystem to hear the needs of women entrepreneurs and support them.
– want not to compete, but complement and collaborate with existing women entrepreneur groups and initiatives.
– want to make the pie bigger for everyone!
How do ‘WE’ see the future?
An ecosystem which understands that if you are willing to start-up and have a family too, that is NOT a problem!
An accelerator that boasts of having your child taken care of in a day care while you work to make that awesome Product in INDIA.
Possibilities are immense. “WE” dream BIG.
“Dream BIG! If it offends someone, so what! Dream Bigger!” – Anonymous
Register for WE: http://goo.gl/forms/
Please note that though Headstart Network has its presence in many cities in India, WE is being launched in Bangalore to begin with.
If you have any thoughts, ideas, inputs please get in touch with us on e-mail. Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com and we will have a chat for sure.