Girls Raising, a community based around assisting and fostering the growth of women founded startups, in addition to all like-minded entrepreneurs and investors, originated from New York and has since expanded to San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.
The empowering organization is dedicated to opening doors, creating an audience for established and up-and-coming female innovators and influencers and bridging the tech-sector’s gender gap.
For many years, the skewed ratio between men and female workers has formed a barrier for emerging female talents. There simply wasn’t enough resources, platforms and opportunities committed to helping women achieve their goals.
Men conduct business in certain way and women conduct business in another way; it’s not about which is better—it’s about how to nurture both forms of communication effectively so that entrepreneurs and investors of either gender can develop the best work possible.
“There is this whole concept of ‘you can’t see what you can’t see’,” says Vanessa Dawson, cofounder of Girls Raising, “so we need more visibility for women leaders and entrepreneurs who are entering startup companies, because then it’ll inspire other women. We are getting there now and there is more.”
The initiative starts with getting promising founders and entrepreneurs out and interacting, sharing resources and developing new ideas. On March 27, Girls Raising will be hosting another event from their Presentation Series in Vancouver. The private event will showcase presentations and panelists, featuring women entrepreneurs and investors that have overcome the gender gap and found success as leaders in the industry. The events are just another actionable step towards supporting, educating and encouraging females to choose tech for a career option.
“The Presentation Series started out as an event series, but it is so much more than that,” says Dawson. “It’s helping more women raise capital for their ventures and get some really good feedback and advice for which direction to take it, and we are building a community around that.”
The event in terms of presentation will cover two specific areas: the finance of a business and the founding of a business. Two women specialist in each of those fields will present, offering tips to raise a company into the green. The event will also see a preselected group of entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to an established panel and receive feedback and potential investment opportunities.
“The quality [of startups] that we bring to the table has been pretty high at all of our events,” says Dawson. “That often leads to acceptance of an accelerator or a follow up investment or some leads that are good for the business. And we share it all with an audience of attendees who are founders, investors, new entrepreneurs and community members.”
Girl Raising caps their active events at 100 people in order to keep the quality of interaction high and insure that everyone gets something out of it, whether they are there as an attendee, panelist or a presenter.
The tech-ecosystem can often be too vast and intimidating for many, but Girl Raising supports the adventurous attitudes of entrepreneurs and understands that there is going to be challenges and adversity, regardless of your gender.
“Be as exploratory as you can,” offers Dawson. “Don’t be afraid to try something, rather than just thinking about it. Women tend to put a lot time into thinking whether they should do this or thinking whether they should do that, and they don’t act. You learn the best lessons and you learn what you want to do and what is the best fit from actually trying something.”