The Decade of the Woman Entrepreneur

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TiE Sydney
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TiE Global’s Sponsor, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has declared this to be the "Decade of the Woman Entrepreneur." To discuss the needs of women entrepreneurs in the decade ahead, Lesa Mitchell,the Foundation's Vice President, Advancing Innovation, talked with Shaherose Charania and Sharon Vosmek-  two women who lead organizations specifically focused on providing entrepreneurial education and support for other women who have the potential to become high-growth entrepreneurs.

Shaherose Charania is perhaps best known as co-founder and CEO of Women 2.0, a network and incubator for women-led startups in Silicon Valley. She has seen more than 300 early-stage startups through Women 2.0, and has hosted monthly educational and networking seminars. Sharon Vosmek leads Astia, which propels women as entrepreneurs in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth.

While the numbers of highly educated women who have the potential to start scalable ventures have reached record levels, these women are not pursuing entrepreneurship or being exposed to entrepreneurial possibilities through networking.

Mitchell: Why do you think now is the time to make this the "Decade of the Woman Entrepreneur?"
Charania: It's a good time to start a business, regardless of gender, so it's an opportune time to encourage women to take the leap. Startup costs have come down, and open source approaches enable individuals who don't necessarily have an extensive technical background to become part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Despite the recession, funding is available and accessible, and, overall, the barriers to entrepreneurship are relatively low.
Vosmek: Women represent 51 percent of the nation's Ph.D.s, 51 percent of business school applicants, and more than 70 percent of last year's valedictorians. Women are well equipped to become entrepreneurs, and are primed to look at different ways of approaching challenges to find better solutions. As a nation, we must make sure we tap into this supply of able business leaders.

Source:  (c)2011 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Reproduced with kind permission. All rights reserved.

To read the full interview, visit