The concept of innovation in business has slowly come to be defined as the ‘next big thing’ out of Silicon Valley rather than in using technology to improve categories. And it definitely excludes female entrepreneurs.
When we think ‘entrepreneur’ it’s hard not to see a flash of a young guy in a hoodie rather than recognize the restauranteurs, shop owners, dry cleaners, farmers that came before.
By definition an entrepreneur is ‘a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.’ And unfortunately, according to Google, it also appears to mean: a man.
In addition to often sitting outside of what society deems an ‘entrepreneur’ overall, female business owners are even more reticent to consider themselves ‘tech entrepreneurs’ even if they are using technology to grow their business. This notion is backed up in last Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) – a worthwhile read regarding entrepreneurship globally.
So this brings us to the topic of ‘invention’ vs. ‘improvement.’ We often come across women who have an idea that is a vertically-driven advancement but then they wonder if it is enough to warrant investment and success. And the answer is that its imperative that we advance ideas which focus on growing, changing and making more accessible, traditional vertical categories.
Here are a few examples of women we’ve read about recently. These only scratch the surface, so we’ll continue to share those that inspire and hope you will send stories to us as well:
Started by Heather Hasson and Trina Spears, FIGS is a direct-to-consumer line of highly improved upon medical scrubs. Tackling an industry reported to be worth $50 billion worldwide, the two decided that the dearth of choice in comfortable, functional and even fashionable scrubs was a missed opportunity. And, guess what, they were right. FIGS is now reportably worn by one in 10 medical professionals in the United States. Read more of the inspiring FIGS story here.
Maneesha Mukhi spent over a decade navigating the immigration system in the United States. As a child of an Indian diplomat, Maneesha travelled extensively settling in the US to attend college. From there she was on a half dozen different visas, finally securing her greencard and now waiting to become a citizen. While there is so much discussion around immigration of late, the conversation often overlooks our heritage and need for immigrants to help us innovate and grow as a country. Even in the best of circumstances it’s a difficult system to navigate. This is where ImmiGo comes in to provide access to a list of qualified lawyers to support. Read more here.
Kabbage is a automated lending platform focused on a category of small business often overlooked by lenders. The result…Kabbage is now a bonafide unicorn. And no surprise with a female founder who has broken the mold in other ways as well… Kathryn Petralia studied English, not finance or engineering and has located her, now ‘unicorn,’ in Atlanta, not New York or Silicon Valley. Her smarts and commitment have landed her on Forbes list of 100 most powerful women. More about the Kabbage story here.
So the next time you ask yourself whether the business you believe in is a ground-breaker and worth sinking your teeth into, give us a call and we’ll remind you that the world is counting on you giving it a try.