Recently on our blog we highlighted TechStars, a newly launched company based here in Boulder that annually provides 10 entrepreneurs with $15,000 of seed funding, mentoring and advice from experts in the field, connections to angel investors and venture capitalists, and a summer-long “boot camp” experience. We hope that entrepreneurial women will apply for opportunities like these, since, in the world of hi-tech startups, women are a rare species. Most women-owned businesses are in the services or retail sector; and when women do start IT-related businesses, they receive less than five percent of IT venture capital funds.
We also we hope to find out more about why there aren’t more women entrepreneurs starting hi-tech companies. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting four reports and accompanying blogs about women’s participation in IT entrepreneurship. This research was authored by NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance member Bill Aspray and NCWIT Senior Research Scientist Joanne M. Cohoon, and is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Beginning February 13, visit the NCWIT Publications page to read the reports and check out our blog for a brief synopsis and discussion of each one.
The Kauffman Foundation also is a supporter of EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, which kicks off February 24. The week features the participation of more than 700 organizations in all 50 states, and includes PR and awareness campaigns, contests, workshops, and more. In conjunction with EntrepreneurshipWeek USA, NCWIT will formally introduce our Entrepreneurial Alliance (EA). The EA’s agenda includes curricular reform, research into hi-tech entrepreneurism and gender (including the reports mentioned above,) and an entrepreneurial “heroes” campaign.
November Meetings Re-cap
NCWIT’s November 2006 meetings at Georgia Tech in Atlanta were jam-packed with promising research, thoughtful speakers, inspiring presentations, terrific feedback, and the exchange of many good ideas. Many of us came home with renewed enthusiasm about the work we’re doing.
From Maria Klawe’s keynote on “Strategies for Changing the World,” to our new promising practices on spotting gender bias and developing women leaders, to the Sony AIBO demonstration from the Spelman Robotics Team, our first day’s work was a glimpse of success happening around the country and across the education/career pipeline.
Our second day marked the first time that all five NCWIT Alliances met in parallel. The Academic Alliance has taken significant steps towards advancing practices within its member institutions; the Social Science Advisory Board has developed both its group dynamic and its forward agenda; and the Workforce Alliance discussed its processes for measuring member-institutions’ progress. Meanwhile, the new K-12 Alliance identified two major projects: developing a resource matrix from among the breadth of its members, and doing outreach at a national conference for computing education; while the new Entrepreneurial Alliance discussed how to tie-in its work with the entrepreneurial focus of upcoming events (see above.)
We thank the crew at Georgia Tech for their fantastic hospitality, AFLAC for its generous support of our reception, and all of you who joined us for your participation and input. Our next set of meetings will take place May 15-16, 2007, here at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Welcome, New Board Members
Over the last seven months NCWIT’s board of directors has increased by over fifty percent. It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome our newest board members, whose broad knowledge and experience will help guide NCWIT’s mission and work:
Martha Bejar, President, Emerging Markets Strategy for the Caribbean & Latin America, Nortel
Jody Bisson, Vice President of Business Process Transformation, Network Appliance
Jerry Colonna, Founder of Hudson Heights Partners and partner with J.P. Morgan Partners
Lee Kennedy, Entrepreneur and former CIO, Webroot Software, Inc.
Georgia Papathomas,Vice President of Information Technology, Pfizer, Inc.
Kimberly Stevenson,Vice President of Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) Service Delivery, EDS
New digs for NCWIT
Last fall NCWIT moved into its new digs within the Alliance for Technology, Learning, & Society (ATLAS) building at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The $31-million, state-of-the-art building in the heart of campus was constructed with the vision of providing “Information Technology (IT) for All,” so we’re pleased to be a part of ATLAS and its work. The building may also be the first in Colorado with a URL (atlas.colorado.edu) carved in stone on its front wall! For those of you joining us here for our May 2007 meetings, we look forward to showing you around the space.
At our November meetings we introduced a new set of NCWIT resources, Programs-in-a-Box. These are turnkey solutions designed for practical use by IT professionals, and they include all the components necessary for quick and strategic action. Users simply download the box from our website and follow a program guide to “unpack” the materials – such as sample letters, templates, slide presentations, activities, and other resources – and customize them for local use.
The three pilot programs include: Outreach-in-a-Box: Discovering IT, a middle school classroom presentation that inspires and informs youth about opportunities in IT through hands-on activities; Survey-in-a-Box: Student Experience of the Major, which includes a survey and resources geared toward assessing and improving the climate for undergraduate women in computing departments in order to increase enrollment and retention of women at this level; and Mentoring-in-a-Box: Technical Women at Work, focused on addressing issues unique to women in IT workplaces and featuring strategies and tools for mentoring relationships and a thriving IT career.
Our meeting attendees in Atlanta provided us with valuable input on each box during focused break-out discussions, and we already have ideas for additional boxes. Read more about Programs-in-a-box here, and we’ll put out the word when the boxes are ready for download from our website. We hope you’ll utilize them and give us feedback as you do so.
About the National Center for Women & Information Technology
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a growing coalition of over 75 respected corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working aggressively to increase women’s participation in information technology (IT.) NCWIT believes that women’s participation is a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. Its goal is professional IT workforce parity in 20 years, and its work will connect efforts along the entire pipeline from K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. To find out more, please visit www.ncwit.org.