Robotic operator and aerospace engineer, Natalie Panek discusses some of the reasons why women are still under-represented in STEM careers and calls for the media to help turn the tide.
The under-representation of women in my field like Aerospace, and all other science and engineering fields is known, and has been known for many years. There is widespread speculation about the source for the low numbers including a multitude of publications, statistics etc. I do not want this to be just another one of those articles talking about the numbers.
Last weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:
"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".
There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.
Some conclusions from the forum were:
Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis
It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.
The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.
Empowering Women makes Financial Sense
Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.
Alexandra Anghel offers advice on when it's the right decision to say no to an investor.
We have all heard the horror stories about how difficult it is to raise money, especially in Europe.
Investors are used to saying no a lot and most of the time they have a valid reason for doing so. Not the right market, not the right product, not the right team.
So what do you
do when you (finally!) get one of them to say yes? Do you analyze if they are
the right match for your startup or if you have good chemistry? And when you
get your hands on one of those coveted term sheets and it’s not exactly what
you expected, do you consider saying NO
Dear Readers of TheNextWomen,
The founder of thenextwomen.com (Simone Brummelhuis) is nominated in The Netherlands for the Online Media Woman of the Year 2010.
As with many prizes, the public needs to support the candidate, before she can get to the finals.
Rebekah Monk, Founder at Bathrooms.com, talks to Lexi Mills about how she grew what started as a side project to a £5m turnover business.
Bathrooms.com is a consumer website that sells bathroom products; built on the ethos that good design should also be affordable.
The business began has a side project when Rebekah Monk had her first child, however it grew sharply to such a scale that her husband, Ian Monk, had to leave his full time position to help manage it. Since then, the business has grown to more than 50 employees in the UK and China and has a turnover in excess of £5 million that is expected to more than double over the next 18 months.
Lexi spoke with Rebekah about the tactics she used to scale the business; what she thinks were the key success drivers for her company; and how she dealt with the challenges of raising funding and international expansion.
Cat Purvis is one of the NextAdvisors signed up to advise our community in our Business Advice Programme.
Cat is the Founder of Exicon, a cloud platform for App and API Managment, with global clients including Handset manufacturers, Operators, Brands & Enterprises. It is a 2012 Red Herring 100 Global tech companies winner.
During her career, Cat has built companies, teams and divisions all over the world, in the UK and US as well as in China where she was based for 5 years. Previous roles include COO at Icon Medialab and GM at a start up in Beijing which was later sold to a global player. She set up Exicon in 2001 and specialises in mobile and internet.
Born and raised in China, Cat is truly an international woman. Fluent in English, French, Mandarin and German she has lived, worked and studied in many places. A firm believer in the power of education, she studied Management and Statistics at St Andrews University and also a Diploma in Marketing and qualifications in Process Re-engineering.
Cat is ready to start advising you on your business. For more details on The Business Advice Programme and to sign up, click here.
Since Apple first announced the iPhone on January 9th 2007 they have grown in popularity. With users growing into their millions, the race to build the best app has increased in momentum, after the announcement in June 2007 that the iPhone would support third-party web applications. Here Katie Lips, serial entrepreneur and Co-Founder of the recently launched Little World Gifts, talks about her fascination with the web, delivering virtual gifts and the desire to create something infectious.
Tell us about yourself?
In June 2009 I began work on Little World Gifts - a new venture in an exciting time in the evolution of mobile and its convergence with the web. I’ve been working with mobile for a while; recently as a consultant to brands; devising iPhone and mobile 2.0 strategies. I have been watching, and often write and speak about the App Store phenomenon and its effect on the rest of the mobile industry. So I’ve been involved in mobile for many years and previously cofounded Treasuremytext.com a popular SMS archiving service as early as 2004. Prior to that I was fascinated in all things web and began my career in digital agencies.
What is Little World Gifts and how did you come up with the idea?
Little World Gifts is a mobile virtual goods startup. We’re aiming to redefine digital gifts by making them mobile, 3D, interactive, and well, just way more gorgeous than what has gone before. Little World Gifts has just launched its first app on iPhone which for the first time brings interactive 3D mobile virtual gifts to users. The business delivers Gift Stores full of exciting content to users on iPhone and Facebook, and offers a compelling platform for brands to deliver branded virtual gifts to mobile and web users.
Do you have any direct competitors?
There are several very interesting players in the online and mobile virtual goods space; companies we watch closely. For example companies like Zynga and Playfish delivering social games on the web, whilst not direct competitors, are very interesting to us in terms of monetizing social gaming on third party platforms. They also show just what can be done if you can get it right in the virtual goods space. In terms of mobile, we are absolutely the first to deliver 3D virtual gifts on mobile, but of course there are other players exploring location based and reward based mobile content business models. It’s a young, multifaceted, and rapidly developing market.
Who is your product aimed at?
The Female Internet Hero strikes more than once. Dutch company Layar, led by Claire Boonstra, who we interviewed some time ago as one of the most inspiring women in tech has been judged the winner of two prizes at the Mobile Premier Awards, at Mobile World Congress. Layar was voted the Best Start Up in Marketing and Best Start Up in Entertainment.
And if that was not enough, the company announced that it has received additional funding of 2.5 million Euro from Sunstone Capital and Prime Technology Ventures, in order to further facilitate its international roll out and reach mainstream businesses.
Finally, already more than one million people have found the application for their own use, while Layar announced that it has reached agreement with one of the top 3 mobile handset manufacturers for a global distribution partnership, which will increase its user base considerably.
The Layar platform allows brands, game developers, publishers and producers to engage with customers through the creation of rich immersive real world experiences. As of mid March 2010, all Layar producers and publishers will be able to generate a return from their investment in AR. They can offer both free and paid content through the Layar platform.
Startups often have a limited advertising budget and no resources available to retain a PR firm to publicise their business or product launch. So how can business owners get the word out without spending a lot of money? One way is to get the attention of industry influencers.
Who are industry influencers?
Industry influencers are the reporters and bloggers who set the trends and lead the discussions on the internet through websites, blogs and social media. A write-up by one of these people will create exposure to a wide array of potential customers and could make all the difference to the success of your business.
This week cosmetics giant L'Oreal entered the women in tech arena with The Next Lab and also The Next Generation Awards. The Next Lab: Women in Digital - CEO's and founders, can apply for L'Oréal's New Experimental Testing Fund if they are building a venture that's NEXT in digital innovation. Grants range from $10,000 till $100,000.