We know it takes a village and a hell of a lot of hard work to start up your start up, and to keep your head above water as you build it out.
You can't go it alone. So you need a tribe of mentors and backers and way-pavers to bounce off as you hit walls, crest peaks and ride the troughs.
If you're a female founder, you're already up against it (current stats show female-founded startups received just 2.2% of 2017’s total global venture capital funding pot while all-male teams received roughly 79% which equates to about $66.9 billion). We've got a long way to go to get ahead, let alone equal.
It's why we need to keep fuelling ourselves so we can keep going, despite the numbers stacking against us.
And it's why we, at girledworld, are so fortunate to have such an extraordinary community of trailblazing female founders around us, who we learn from, laugh with and who fuel our girledworld mission everyday!
We couldn't do it without them. And would like to seriously, hands on heart hank all those amazing women who have helped us and hoisted us along the way.
A special THANK YOU A THOUSAND TIMES to Jeanette Cheah from The Hacker Exchange, for penning this powerhouse round-up below. (This article was first published on Linkedin for International Women's Day 2018. #pressforprogress )
BY JEANETTE CHEAH, The Hacker Exchange
Hooray for female empowerment! To quote the almighty Oprah in honour of International Women's Day, “a new day is on the horizon” and women are supporting each other and being heard like never before.
Riding this exhilarating wave of sisterly solidarity, I thought I’d share some of the fantastic ways that women in the Australian startup and technology space are coming together to build the economy, the internet, and meaningful connections.
Founded in 2011, the League is led by Sheryl Thai (also of Cupcake Central) and was created by a high-achieving squad including Sarah Riegelhuth of Wealth Enhancers and Liz Atkinson-Volpe of Project Gen Z. Polished, professional, with a dash of sass, the women of the League have conquered the Australian market with nine chapters across the country, plus the runaway success of the future-focussed ‘Run the World, Techformation’ conference. They now have their eyes firmly set on connecting women globally. Look out for their unique networking platform, Find your Five, and events throughout the year.
Insta-style: Inspirational quotes, pithy life observations that make you feel 'seen', and the occasional #deskgoals snap featuring a donut and Macbook
Quote: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”.
Must read: Thrive, Arianna Huffington
Likely theme song: Formation, Beyonce
The coolest girl in class who also happens to be a straight-A student, LMBDW was founded by two 30 under 30 (I know, I know) honorees – Jane Lu, CEO of the painfully cool fashion e-retailer Showpo, and Gen George, MD of millennial job-search platform Skilld, and double-sided marketplace platform, tamme.io.
With their combined social media chops and cheeky group name, LMBDW has exploded to over 60,000 members on Facebook, spawning in-person meetups from Melbourne to London, Singapore and even Newcastle. These ladies are all about the hustle, with many members in true start-up phase or balancing their job with entrepreneurial aspirations. Think high-energy, wine-powered business speed dating, ‘sweat session’ group yoga meetups, all Snapped and live-streamed on Facebook.
Insta-style: Stylised group shots, flatlay cocktail spreads, pop-culture references and plenty of fashion inspo.
Quote: "Bitches build empires"
Must read: #GIRLBOSS by Sophie Amoruso
Likely theme song: Work, Bitch, Britney Spears
If you’re meeting with CEO, Sarah Moran, get ready for an injection of energy, unabashed femininity and badass-ness. Having learned to code at only 5 years old, Sarah and her team are focussed on increasing the number of women with successful STEM careers - while also showing girls it's cool to be smart.
Girl Geek Academy's co-founders are a fabulous combination of Hustlers, Hipsters and Hackers located globally, and they are to here to help women of all ages build the internet. Their flagship all-women hackathon, #shehacks is complemented by #shemakesgames and #missmakescode for girls aged 5-8 years old, and they firmly believe that hacking can be fuelled by pressed juice and cupcakes, just as it can by beer and pizza. Girl Geek Academy's important work also includes supporting teachers as they educate the next generation of engineers, leaders and technologists.
Insta-style: Cute as a button 7-year-olds with robots, candid, colourful hackathon shots and casually-styled afternoon teas.
Quote: "If Donald Trump can run a country you can run a startup."
Theme song: "Thank you for being a friend", The Golden Girls theme song
Oh hi, next generation. While the rest of us are pretending to be grown ups, Girledworld is squarely focused on girls aged 12-17, showing them that technology, innovation and entrepreneurship are valid career choices, teaching skills such as human centred design, VR/AR, UX and leadership.
Founded by two Wade Institute alumna, Madeleine Grummett and Edwina Kolomanski, and boasting speakers such as Kelly O’Dwyer, Jess Vovers and more, Girledworld is the new EdTech kid on the block, and plans to stay that way. Check out their World of Work (WOW) Summit in June, to be held at RMIT University.
Insta-style: Bold black and white, no nonsense call to arms for young girls and female leaders.
Quote: "If you want to change a generation, start with girls."
Must read: I am Malala, Malala Yousef
Likely theme song: Who run the world? (Girls), Beyonce
With first-hand experience on the barriers of being a female developer, CEO and co-founder Ally Watson is all about bringing practical tools, support and confidence to young women in technology. Code like a Girl is a social enterprise, running hands-on workshops (build your own chatbot, anyone?) and facilitating internship programs placing young technologists inside real companies to gain experience, form relationships and build confidence.
Insta-style: Lego figurines, nerd-core inside jokes, an unabashed love for maths and code.
Must read: Creative Confidence, David M. Kelley and Tom Kelley
Likely theme song: Confident, Demi Lovato
If you're a female entrepreneur in Melbourne, then you've definitely heard about One Roof. Located in Southbank and founded by ex-lawyer, mentor and community beating heart, Sheree Rubinstein, One Roof is a co-working and events space dedicated to women-led businesses.
Home to over 70 businesses, and playing host to events such as pitch nights, international live streams, F*ckUp Nights and their recent Community Market, it's hard to believe that One Roof was once a pop-up concept trialled in NYC, London, Sydney and LA!
Insta-style: Colourful and bright, just like the space itself, One Roof's Insta is all about celebrating community members.
Quote: “An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.” - Reid Hoffman
Must read: Purpose, Lisa Messenger
The stateswoman of this round-up, Business Chicks has been sparking inspiration since 2005. Founded by powerhouse, Emma Isaacs, the now-global organisation is known for their lavish keynote events, featuring rockstar speakers such as Kate Hudson, Brené Brown, Gloria Steinham and Bob Geldof. It's tailored more towards the career professional, so expect rooms full of ideas, cufflinks and networking for women who prefer not to climb the ladder alone.
Their 9 to Thrive expo is also a cornerstone of any self-respecting female entrepreneur’s calendar. Bring your business cards, and have your elevator pitch down pat.
Insta-style: Plenty of pink, feminist heroes, and gorgeous event pics.
Quote: "We're stronger when we lift each other up."
Must read: Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
Likely theme song: Roar, Katie Perry
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...
Female Founders Aus
Less of an organisation and more of a movement, Startup Vic recently started showcasing female founders with a dedicated Instagram account which asks one simple question - What’s your superpower? From Red Ballon founder, Naomi Simpson to recently-funded AgriTech entrepreneur Anastasia Volkolva (and yours truly), this account puts to shame any conference organiser who dares say “but I couldn’t find a female entrepreneur to speak on this panel”.
Inspiring Rare Birds
Founded by serial entrepreneur, Jo Burston, Rare Birds is all about visibility and motivation for female entrepreneurs. #ifshecanican is the mantra, and with a speakers bureau, mentorship program, published books, podcasts and plenty of publicity, this flock is bringing the spotlight to female entrepreneurs.
The Click List
Created by Vic ICT 4 Women, The Click List gives journalists and event organisers immediate access to qualified and dynamic female speakers and MCs in STEAM. It's free to use and nominate (or self-nominate), and will hopefully help bring greater diversity to conference stages and voices in the media.
Go Girl, go for IT
Another initiative from Vic ICT 4 Women, Go Girl, go for IT is a careers event that aims to excite and engage female secondary school students by introducing them to the diverse world of IT. Check out their upcoming August event at Deakin University.
Helping women get 'pitch ready' is a major part of the entrepreneurial lifecycle, and ELEVACO is here for it. It's a not-for-profit organisation run by NYC-based investor speaker and entrepreneur Marissa Warren, who reckons that women being only 3% of funded tech entrepreneurs is not really acceptable.
Pep Talk Her
Coming soon, Meggie Palmer's app is fighting to close the #genderpaygap with confidence boosting strategies and career coaching. Jump on the website and be first in line to download this pocket rocket.
A monthly series in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Mentor Walks was created by Michele Garnaut and is a beautiful example of how women are changing the way we interact with leaders, by investing in connection, generosity and relationships.
Have I missed anything?
I've been lucky to work with many of the women in this post, but I'm sure there are more amazing organisations and people creating ways for women to connect. I'd love to hear who else you would add to the list!
(Photo credit - all pics are from the organisations' Instagram. Theme songs, books, etc are just for fun and not official. I'm happy to take suggestions...!)