10/04/2012 12:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Where Are the Women Entrepreneurs?

Echoing Green, one of the preeminent organizations supporting global social entrepreneurship, has seen a decrease in the number of women fellows selected relative to men. The last six out of seven fellowship classes, in fact, have been majority male and the past two years have seen a particularly sharp dip in women fellows. Five of their peer organizations, including Ashoka, Draper Richards, Ranier Arnhold, New Profit, and Unreasonable Institute, have noted a similar challenge.

As Echoing Green points out, it's not much better on the investor side of the equation:

The ratio of female to male investors is virtually non-existent. A 2008 survey of the venture capital association showed that 14 percent of directors, partners and principals at VC firms were women. And according to the National Venture Capital Association, there are 462 venture capital firms in the United States, but only one is run by a woman. As it turns out, this particular firm is interested in both social and financial returns on its investments.

First of all, I love that Echoing Green if paying attention to the demographic composition of their applicants and being so forthcoming in exploring the uneven numbers of men and women applying. Brava!

There's a book, not a blog post, to be explored in terms of why this is, but suffice it to say that in the meantime, I want to make sure you all know about every possible opportunity out there to support women entrepreneurs, and for goodness sakes, apply with your bright ideas! We need you.


Here's the latest, by one of our TEDx women partners: Amazon Web Services has launched their 6th annual Global Start-Up Challenge. This contest is a way for promising start-ups to get noticed and compete for an opportunity to win some great rewards. This year’s challenge offers big prizes, including four grand prizes of $100K in combined cash and credits, VC introductions, global PR and more. The contest entry period ends on November 9, 2012. Learn the deets here.