While women entrepreneurs have more than proved their worth by consistently outperforming the average in terms of starting and growing successful businesses, access to the capital they need to grow those businesses continues to be a major stumbling block. While women open businesses at twice the rate of men in the US, they do not receive anywhere near the same levels of VC funding (currently at around 13 percent according to the SBA).
These obstacles continue to be a focus of a major Dell-commissioned global research study which seeks to understand which countries worldwide are most conducive to female entrepreneurial success. With the 2015 Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard to be announced later this month at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and actions by Dell and many of our partners, our goal is to advocate on behalf of women entrepreneurs and help to remove some of the remaining barriers to their success.
A perfect example of a corporate partner investing for change is Intel. Yesterday, they announced the Intel Capital Diversity Fund – the largest venture fund dedicated to startups led by women and underrepresented minorities – and four new portfolio companies. The fund is more than 6 times the size of any other minority-focused VC fund, and more than 10 times the size of any other fund targeting female entrepreneurs.
Congratulations Intel and Intel Capital! This is smart business and a critical move to advance women & minorities. I heard some important advice yesterday that I want to share:
- “What we are doing at Intel Capital is a start, but this is an industry that has not changed in 40 years, we need to incentives and look at regulations that will engage the VC community in more funding for women and minorities.” Lisa Lambert of Intel Capital
- “If you are homogeneous you will get wiped out. Diversity grants success.” Jeff Hudson of Venafi
- “If you only use recognition patterns to solve problems, you won’t be disruptive.” Albert Santalo of Care Cloud
- “The VC community has create a confidence gap with women founders. We need to build networks that will bring them forward.” Jennifer Fonstadt of Aspect Ventures
This groundbreaking commitment to open up more opportunity for technology entrepreneurs raises the bar for all of us working to increase the speed of innovation and job creation, and Dell Ventures looks forward to working with Intel on potential opportunities for additional investment. It’s well-known that diversity in the tech industry and tech startup community lags that of society overall, creating a shortfall of new ideas and talent. With a decades-long track record of backing successful startups, Intel Capital is well positioned to foster even more innovation and economic development with its new Diversity Fund.
In addition to capital, we also understand that a strong network is key to success. That’s why Dell and Intel are partnering again to hold the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (#DWEN) Summit in Berlin June 28-30, 2015. Through this Network, we support and nurture a community of female entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, networks and capital. Today, we are proud to announce that all women-led Intel Capital funded companies are invited to join and benefit from the powerful connections forged through DWEN.
Additionally, Dell, identifies “50 fast-growth tech startups and founders to watch” annually as part of its Founders 50 initiative. I was just with the Spring class in San Francisco last month and walked away energized by the potential each of these tech entrepreneurs and their ideas. Intel Diversity Fund companies, will automatically qualify to be part of this elite group and get the benefit of additional support to help grow their companies. What we do with the Founders 50 is put the power of Dell behind each company to help you reach their objectives – mainly in the form of an exclusive marketing effort and associated resources designed for growth.
Finally, Dell is working on a global policy initiative that will look at global funding and support for all entrepreneurs. You can visit www.entrepreneursunite.com to add your voice to this campaign and behind the need to create jobs and support the UN’s ability to implement goals for these initiatives. It takes less than 10 seconds – and will help to change lives!
I encourage everyone to check out Intel Capital’s news today and join us in support of the world’s entrepreneurs. #EntrepreneursUNite