It’s important to show that nothing is impossible even if you’re a woman.
We have already written on several occasions about the topic of women in the IT industry and tech entrepreneurship. We want to encourage girls to take a step in that direction, and what better way to do that than by showing them good examples.
Starting another exciting year with renewed enthusiasm, we sat down to talk about this topic with our own Sandra Nešić, program coordinator at ICT Hub and professor at the Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration.
Women in IT entrepreneurship – how many of them are there, how vocal are they, and how successful?
It’s difficult to be an entrepreneur. I liked what one of our guests said, that the road of an entrepreneur is a very lonely one because by definition you are doing things no one has done before you, so receiving any type of assistance or support along the way is vital. And when you’re a female entrepreneur, according to global statistics, it gets even more difficult. Recent research shows that only 10% of founders of fast growing companies are female, and that only 3% of startups led by women in CEO positions receive financial support from VC funds, one of the reasons, of course, being that there is only 6% of female partners in VC funds… We’ve even read recently about funds that openly state that they don’t invest in „female“ startups.
Even though statistics don’t favor female entrepreneurs, we do have wonderful and courageous women successfully running their businesses, having families, children, hobbies… doing everything. Good business is a good business and it speaks for itself, but it’s important to promote female accomplishments and success in technological entrepreneurship, to encourage those who are thinking about starting their business, to create a support network…
Theory or practice? How much are women/girls ready to put into practice everything that they learn, explore and discover? How many of them are ready to start their own projects?
Women make up the majority of the global student population. Almost half of managerial positions are occupied by women. But when it comes to having courage to start their own business, the numbers change drastically, especially in the startup world, where developing a so called lifestyle business (which allows a lot more flexibility in life) is not an option.
What is the position of women in teams you meet through ICT Hub programs?
From our experience, I can say we see fewer teams where women are co-founders compared to those where they are an important member of the team but not one of the founders. But, I repeat, this is just our experience. Women are still working more as CMOs, doing business development, and much less as CTOs or CEOs in startups. Speaking from our experience in startup programs so far, up to 10% of all projects are led by women, with the exception of Telenor Smart City Challenge, where out of 6 startup finalists, 2 teams had female CEOs.
I love working with girls in the startup program, mainly because they listen differently, they consider different opinions, they are often more responsible when it comes to agreements/assignments… They have no problem coming to me for help, or talking to me about topics unrelated to the startup world.
Why is it important to talk about this issue? For the sake of women or for the sake of those who still see gender as a determining factor for success in this field?
It’s important to show that nothing is impossible even if you’re a woman. It’s important to talk about global statistics concerning female businesses, especially startups, which are not at all encouraging, and to raise awareness about the fact that there are certain problems in certain places, especially in Silicon Valley. It’s important to show good examples which will motivate women to change these statistics, to show to women where they are going wrong and how to make changes that will help them achieve their goals.
What is the best way to motivate women who need that little extra push to start developing their projects?
If it’s a question of a little extra push, then it’s only a matter of time when they will make that first step and set things in motion, and in that case I believe there is no need for any additional motivation. But, if there’s a need for more support, I think that the key is to have support and understanding from a partner/family.
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