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What’s Up With the Lack of Female-Led Venture-Backed Startups in Chicago?

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-09-16

The absence of women in tech is not a recent phenomenon, nor is it isolated to any specific region. Whether it be lack of opportunity, exposure, and even discrimination, female coders and engineers are unfortunately few and far between when compared to their male counterparts.

In a recent article from ChicagoBusiness.com, Katherine Raz explores a different angle what’s really going on with female entrepreneurs. Although her insights are based in Chicago, the issue is universally applicable.

She says, perhaps it’s the “entrepreneurial space that’s the problem”.



“Many female business owners I know don't have MBAs or a network of potential investors. They're not developers and don't know any. And they're not interested in making their businesses "massively scalable." Most women I know actually think a million — not a billion — dollars is cool. They'd like to head a sustainable company that employs eight people and occupies a loft office in Ravenswood where people bring their dogs. But not a lot of angels or venture capitalists are interested in making that happen.”


What do you think? Does the fault lie with investors who fail to see the potential in these types of female-run businesses, or is there more to it?

In response to this issue, the Founder Institute implemented the Female Founder Fellowship - a full scholarship given to an outstanding female applicant of each Founder Institute semester. Since launching the program in 2011, FI has seen a 62% global increase in our percentage of female graduates, which has now reached 26% worldwide. Additionally, FI has graduated over 150 female-led companies, many of which are venture and angel backed, including CakeHealth, Zirtual, Fashioning Change, Skimble, Memetales, Ecobold, Kindara, Piggybackr, and 2RedBeans..

If you are a woman interested in launching a tech startup in Chicago, apply for the Female Founder Fellowship today.  In order to be eligible for the Fellowship for the Chicago Autumn 2013 Semester, you must complete your application and Admissions Test by the early Application Deadline of 11:59 PM on Sunday, September 22, 2013. Any woman who follows those guidelines will be automatically eligible - no further steps are required. Click here to learn more.

Click here to read the full article on ChicagoBusiness.com and we hope to see you this Fall in Chicago!

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