Historically, female entrepreneurs have faced more challenges in the startup landscape, tasked with competing with male entrepreneurs for investment dollars and industry recognition. A 2014 report from Babson College found that less than 3 percent of venture capital-funded businesses had women at the helm.
Fortunately, the landscape continues to change and there is an increasing number of opportunities available to women in business today. This support is helping level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, making it easier for new business owners to follow. Here are three organizations leading the way, helping make gender inequality in entrepreneurship a thing of the past.
The Audience Awards.
One area females stand to excel is in filmmaking. Women are still highly underrepresented in the highly-competitive movie making business, despite the fact that they may have a better ability to connect with female moviegoers. The Audience Awards addresses the disparity of women in film through three major methods.
- The Doc Challenge: This timed filmmaking competition gives participants the opportunity to put together a movie in a short timeframe, have that film premiere at a large film festival, win cash, and possibly receive television distribution deals. For the past three years, the directors of the winning films have been women.
- Women on Film Short Film Competition: This annual competition highlights and celebrates female directors.
- The Makers: This reality show, currently being pitched, is produced by a team of women.
Founder Paige Williams created The Audience Awards in June of 2013, just five months after Women in Film and the Sundance Institute released a report showing how underrepresented women are in the filmmaking industry. “I started the company because all filmmakers needed a platform to find and connect with their audience & drive engagement to their films," Williams said.
The Points of Light Civic Accelerator.
In partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Points of Light Civic Accelerator supports businesses and nonprofits that include people as part of the solution to enact social change. Late last year, the two entities announced the Civic Accelerator would make a concerted effort to support female entrepreneurs by ensuring more than half of the beneficiaries of its services are led by women founders.
In addition to its commitment to choosing female-led startups to support, the Civic Accelerator will work to pair women entrepreneurs with the professionals they need, as well as coaching them through the process. While applications are currently closed, the Civic Accelerator makes announcements on new opportunities through its Twitter profile.
Savor the Success.
Savor the Success is a business network dedicated specifically to women. The site helps connect female entrepreneurs with media outlets interested in quotes, interviews and profiles, as well as hosting a public relations academy to coach members on improving their marketing efforts. Once a month, Savor the Success members meet in communities across the country to brainstorm, network and set goals. Membership also includes access to a magazine and an extensive library of video and audio recordings featuring expert advice.
For time-challenged professionals, Savor the Success also provides online networking opportunities through its virtual cafés. These forums include a resident lawyer, as well as experts in social media, PR and branding. If a group doesn’t meet nearby, members can access recordings of the monthly meetings in New York City. Memberships start at $49 per month and require approval.
With so many organizations working in their favor, women are emerging more and more as a serious force in business and entrepreneurship. These are only three of many tools available to help women who are interested in competing in largely male-dominated arenas. They provide networking opportunities and access to resources that can make a big difference in a new business’s success.