Why We in Social Tech // Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs?
We in Social Tech launched a second accelerator call for participants on the 15th of April, seeking to support another 20 women-led businesses to start, grow or scale.
To find out why the programme was developed and why it is so important, we share some of the key highlights below from the founding team, presenters and panel that took part in our Launch event, in October last year, involving leading figures in the social technology sector.
For those of you who were unable to attend the event, this recap provides some valuable insights into the struggles, solutions and the opportunities faced by women in social tech businesses, as well as the key role that women are playing in the future of the technology sector, not only in terms of developing business value but also in values placed on social change.
APPLY NOW! Accelerator round 2 deadline for applications is 19th May 2019.
One in four new startups is a social business and the hurdles are greater for women entrepreneurs
Nicole Lovett, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility UK, at Deutsche Bank, opened the event, stating;
“In Europe alone, one in four new startups is a social business and yet as many as 80% of these do not survive beyond those first 18 months. The hurdles are greater among businesses with social goals and for women entrepreneurs.
The We in Social Tech programme aims to balance this by accelerating the increasingly powerful role that women play in driving economic growth and social progress.
We aim to shine a unique spotlight on female founders with unique approaches to businesses that are shaping up the digital marketplaces and we understand that it’s not just the technology that is important but the solutions and changes it enables them to make, and in doing so can help to inspire a new generation of women to choose STEM careers.”
Offering women-led businesses bespoke packages of support, unique to the social tech sector
Richard Salmon, Regional Director at Nwes, the organisation leading the Accelerator programme, explained how Nwes and the programme’s partners aim to support economic prosperity in local communities and to drive jobs creation.
The organisation leads on offering business support, master classes, affordable workspace and providing access to finance. Over the 18-month We in Social Tech programme, 60 businesses will receive FREE bespoke packages of support, to assist women-led businesses in a way that best suits them, without giving up any equity or IP.
Nwes invites supporters of this initiative to help us by introducing female founders who could benefit from to the accelerator and to encourages them to put an application in.
20 women will be selected in each call.
The under-representation and under-investment of women in technology needs to change
Ghislaine Boddington, Spokesperson for We in Social Tech further and Co-founder of Women Shift Digital, highlighted that the under representation of women in technology and female founders has a knock-on effect.
“Only 7% of those working in the tech industry across Europe are women and only 4% of venture capital investment into the tech sector goes to women founded companies.
Female-led companies are less likely to raise investment, compared to male-led tech businesses and there are also less female role models in technology. This becomes a self perpetuating situation and because of these factors there are less female-led technology businesses.
The lack of female role models to share with our younger generation is of course discouraging girls from entering the sector. If you don’t see a reflection of yourself, how do you gain the confidence? We also deny men the experience of working alongside women and supporting gender equality.
With ongoing pay inequality, far fewer females earn enough to invest in their own ideas or start their own companies. Lack of pay and equity affects women’s ability to save or invest in others. The reason there aren’t more women VCs is because they may not have earned enough to do that.
Women face greater challenges and obstacles to success than men in this industry, and are still in a minority despite having the huge potential to make an equal impact.”
Creating value and values – user, social and financial
We in Social Tech believes that businesses do not have to create economic value at the expense of having values. On the reverse of this, we do not believe that if a business has values it cannot create economic value.
These two are not mutually exclusive and we therefore want to encourage the technology sector to embrace both creating values and having values.
Our Accelerator is working on two strands;
- supporting female entrepreneurship and
- supporting businesses that are creating technology with a positive impact as their core mission
Social tech, also known as tech-for-good, is a movement in the technology sector, finding its way to the top of our agendas. In a world where we see complex crises happening around us, wealth inequality, climate change issues and a lack of tolerance, to name just a few of the issues we face today, we sense more and more the imperative need to integrate societal solutions into our technological developments and the need to pinpoint communities who have particular needs today.
The aim is to amplify and move forward together in positive actions until it becomes more natural for us all to act responsibly, for future generations.
Women and men are taking action and demanding equality. We in Social Tech is actioning value and values directly and jointly to enable change and to encourage sustainable business models based on ethical frameworks with social purpose and profitability. This of course holds some unique challenges for entrepreneurship overall.
It is not easy to build a sustainable business that delivers user, social and financial value. This is complex and We in Social Tech is supporting Women Entrepreneurs and their businesses to do this successfully.