One oft-cited indicator of success is equality at the top. When it comes to entrepreneurs, you don’t often see a lot of women in the CEO role. In fact, last year, the number of women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies dropped by 25 percent. They now make up just 4.8 percent of the list.
But a new wave is rising. The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report by American Express shows women in 2018 were starting about 1,821 new U.S. businesses per day, a significant uptick from an average of 952 between 2012 and 2017.
At Girls in Tech, a global non-profit that works to put an end to gender inequality in high-tech industries and startups, it’s a core mission to support women entrepreneurs with the access and community they need to succeed in tech, whether it’s funding or mentorship. As a result, we are seeing the evidence of an uptick in women founders at startups around the world through the AMPLIFY Women’s Startup Pitch Competition series.
Women entrepreneurs are actively driving the statistics upward. Women founders at tech startups, in particular, are at the forefront of the women’s empowerment movement. They are changing the game for women in tech.
One female-founded team doing exactly that is San Francisco-based OmniVis, winner of the 2018 Girls in Tech AMPLIFY Women’s Startup Pitch Competition. They created an app that provides early detection and works to contain cholera outbreaks.
Lynne Cheng, head of operations at OmniVis, says the hardest part of being a female founder is hearing “all of the statistics like the percent of women who receive VC funding or the lower numbers of women-led businesses that become the next multi-billion dollar companies.”
She says she used to question her as an entrepreneur when I heard those numbers. “But then I realized I heard these same sorts of statistics for women in STEM and it didn’t stop me, or my female colleagues, from achieving a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. So, I learned to not let that stop me with moving forward with OmniVis, either.”
Women in tech startups have problems to disrupt and change to make. As more and more women take on the role of founder, it is more important than ever to support female entrepreneurs by giving them global exposure to garner venture investment, build community, provide mentorship and more. That’s why this year, to highlight the increase in women startup founders, we’re offering them the stage to compete in the AMPLIFY Competition at Girls in Tech’s flagship Catalyst Conference in San Francisco on June 19-20 (catalystsf.girlsintech.org).