5 Amazing Entrepreneurship Programs for Women in Tech March 8, 2019 RICCentre Leaders, authors, developers, business experts, mentors, sponsors, homemakers, students, home schoolers – women in tech in all roles have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams in any market space whether they are building software or not. There are new terms sprouting during a revigorated focus on hearing women’s voices in the workplace; #ladyboss, #girlboss, mom-preneur, intrapreneur, solo-preneur. Women and men are supporting this movement of women taking the leap to start their own business at any stage of their lives. And, technology allows women to fast pace their ideas to market. Current State of Women in Tech It is not always an easy journey for women-led businesses as the access to funds, resources and power is not the same as it is for male entrepreneurs. As a matter of fact, less than 3% of VC funds go to women run businesses in North America. The percentage of women in the corporate pipeline is not increasing as fast as it needs to at all levels to solve the talent gap in business, less than 3% according to a McKinsey study. Women in the Canadian ICT industry is declining as more women self select out due to lack of advancement opportunities and pay equity issues. VCs and Corporate investors are saying they are not being pitched by women entrepreneurs – why is that? The Future of Women in Tech While being a woman in tech can sound challenging with all these negative statistics, being alone doesn’t have to be one of them. Women in Tech are joining forces to bring more light to this opportunity than ever before. So, let’s turn conversation into action on International Women’s Day. Here are some amazing programs and groups that are supporting women in their quest for successful business building. The Canadian government has developed a Women Entrepreneurship Strategy to support areas such as access to capital, training and opening the doors to new markets. Let’s hope the funding vehicles continue as the first $20 million did not cover the overwhelming number of applications they received. Organizations such as The WIT Network, a global organization who support women pursuing careers in tech whether they are just starting out or are in the 4th quarter of their career starting a new business venture. You join locally and globally with like-minded women in tech. Regional Innovation Centres are offering more women’s programs such as the Innovation Factory’s Accelerator for Women in Entrepreneurship (AWE). Some are focused on seed funding to kick start a women’s business while others offer support and networking opportunities. Organizations are paying attention to diversity and inclusion (D&I) more than ever before as culture and a diverse workforce is proven to be a positive net direct result to a company’s bottom line. What does this have to do with women entrepreneurs? Just simply the awareness of D&I in every day business will support that women entrepreneur making her first sale as eyes are more open to new business opportunities. Microsoft, as an example, has completely revamped their focus on Global Microsoft Diversity and Inclusion and are encouraging this attention in their supply chain and partner ecosystem. Fabulous events like Move the Dial who hosted their spectacular inaugural event in 2018 and planning for 2019. Innovation is at the heart of what we do, and technology enables us to bring those ideas to markets faster and more successfully. By collaborating, leveraging programs, business networks and newly defined funding interests, we can all take this week to celebrate the trail blazer women entrepreneurs who have been successful and encourage the many who are just developing their ideas with big dreams of changing the world. About the AuthorCorinne SharpCOO, The WIT Network, President, Sharp Perspective and President, Canadian Channel Chiefs CouncilCorinne Sharp is a volunteer advisor at RIC Centre and has been working in the IT sector for over 20 years leading teams at Fortune 100 companies as well as startups. She works with organizations from startups through to large global organizations on their sales, channel and management strategies. She’s held leadership roles with Microsoft and General Electric in both Enterprise and SMB organizations. She recently launched The WIT Network globally focused supporting women and young girls in their pursuits of careers in the technology sector.