The conference room has a U-shaped table as I walk in to the Women 2.0 "Jump Start Your Startup" series. More than a dozen women are seated, laptops and notebooks out before them as I arrive to present my business story and play a part in the development of theirs. I take a seat and cross the gold Marc by Marc Jacobs boots I'm wearing. The air crackles with excitement as one by one, the women present and talk about their startup company ideas. Everybody in the room, including myself and moderator Naeem Zafar, chime in with questions, encouragement and of course, advice and constructive criticism. When it comes time to share how I developed my first company idea, I'm reminded how every single great company on the planet started just like this. There is nothing more inspiring than being part of the innovation process, your own or others.
Today's new modern women entrepreneurs and executives are among some of the most creative people I know.
"My aha! moment came when I consulted for a big outsourcing company in India and realized that IT could provide jobs for the world's poor," said Leila Chirayath Janah, founder of Samasource, which connects women, youth and refugees living in poverty with computer work.
For Annie Chang, Co-founder and Head of Product at the highly successful Lolapps, it was opportunity seen in Facebook applications. To foster and further innovation, the company encourages a relaxed atmosphere, communication and hosts a variety of team building and social events.
"Innovation can happen in all areas of the company, from anyone," she shared via email.
It was a love for innovation that sparked the creation of Women 2.0 by co-founder Shaherose Charania, who today has hosted dozens of events and meet-ups to drive it among women in the Silicon Valley and beyond.
"The initial idea of Women 2.0 came out of our own problem: we all had a desire to launch a tech startup but had no idea where to start the process."
When it comes to turning ideas into businesses, Power Girls take the jump. To do the same, women from across the country shared insight from how to funnel ideas to research and networking. They encourage you to take the leap, don't be afraid to talk about your ideas out of fear of someone taking them, and to be open to learning and conversations. Most of all, be open to building relationships.
"If I were to do it all again, I'd spend 80% of my time identifying and building key relationships," shared Linqia founder Maria Sipka.