I've heard it again and again, "Technology needs women!"
The Austin American Statesman asked Can Austin become tech magnet for women?, in a recent article, describing how only "3% of tech startups are formed by women". Austin, which prides itself as an entrepreneurial tech hub, can and certainly will do better. In my role as the Planning and Delivery Manager for the IBM Innovation Center in Austin, I've personally seen efforts, both within IBM and the larger community to attract and promote women entrepreneurs.
This past May, the IBM Innovation Center in Austin hosted a panel during RISE Week discussing Women in Technology: Leadership & Entrepreneurship where participants focused on overcoming self sabotage to create global scalable businesses. Self sabotage comes in many forms such as fear, being overwhelmed by statistics and getting hung up about problems that haven't yet manifested and may never do so.
A great quote from one of the panelists came from Terry Chase Hazell, “Statistically, you know who is most likely to kill you? Your significant other. But we still date! There are certain odds of not raising capital when you’re a woman. That doesn’t mean your particular odds are impacted. So pick a scalable model, something that will work, and go date! He’s not likely to kill you.” Read more about our panel in the Silicon Hills News article, Women in Tech Must Push Relentlessly to Succeed.
There are also women focused accelerators and incubators located in Central Texas such as AVINDĒ. The founders of AVINDĒ are seasoned, successful women entrepreneurs who each have more than 25 years experience leading multi-million dollar ventures. They advise that women should find the intersection of a problem that needs solving and their passion!
The women of IBM are also advising others on how to get a seat at the entrepreneurial table. The message from IBM executives at the Super Women's Group #IBMInnovate 2013 Panel held in June was that a successful career in technology today requires taking risks, leveraging social business, building relationships, turning mistakes into victories and impacting the bottom line.
Even though there is a long way to go, women entrepreneurs are making strides and IBM is one of the companies leading the way. Here at the IBM Innovation Center in Austin, we are well positioned to feature and partner with women in technology as role models, which could in turn, lead to more women taking the leap into entrepreneurship.