The recent rockstar opening weekend of Wonder Woman has been a nice reminder that yes, as women, we are just as capable of saving the world as men. Thank you, Hollywood, for the box office reminder. And also, thank you for reminding everyone else in this country, who have clearly overlooked what women are capable of accomplishing, including starting our own businesses.
Being an entrepreneur is difficult. It isn’t for everyone.
Being a woman in the workplace has also presented its difficulties. It’s gotten better, but there’s still a way to go.
Therefore, being a female entrepreneur leaves us in a position of actively searching for other ladies with similar circumstances.
All of this is in hopes we can find camaraderie, inspiration and support to build and actualize our dreams. Now, we are all familiar with the notion that some women are competitive with others, and lift themselves up by pushing others down. But to that mindset, I’d like to offer a few friendly words from Miss Madeline Albright: “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” That’s where Tina Fey’s Mean Girls go to gossip for eternity. Am I right or am I right?
According to the State of Women-Owned Business Report, the growth of female-owned businesses has almost doubled male-owned businesses over the last 20 years (1997-2014), providing almost three times the number of employment opportunities and 60 percent more revenue—not too shabby. In 2013 alone, there was an average of 1,228 women-owned businesses starting every day—every day! High five, ladies. All of this being said, I thought it would be nice to share a few organizations and resources worth looking into for any ladies interested in said camaraderie and support!
Women Entrepreneurship Organizations in Chicago
- Women Tech Founders (WTF). Women Tech Founders is an organization comprised of women who organically found themselves drawn to each other given a shared interest in supporting women and advancing their careers in entrepreneurship and technology. WTF helps members connect, grow, teach and inspire through in-person events and raw authenticity. This one is obvious, but for those of you in Chicago looking for the ultimate support network, hop on this train. It’s on the fast track going in the right direction.
- #MsTech. You have to be invited to the #MsTech Facebook group, as it’s by invite only, but once you’re in, you’re instantly connected to thousands of other female entrepreneurs in technology.
- WiSTEM at 1871. 1871 created a cohort designed specifically for supporting women in STEM fields and their entrepreneurship journeys.
- FemCity. FemCity is a global professional women’s business network. There are many ways to get involved, and they also share free worksheets and white papers with tips on growing your business.
- Women in Wireless (WIW). This group has chapters all over the world and is mostly focused on women in the technology/digital space. However, there are a lot of opportunities for networking and meeting ambitious women who are looking to take on new and exciting projects!
- Women in Technology International (WITI). WITI is not necessarily focused on entrepreneurship, but it does focus on connecting women in technology. Another great source of information and education.
- Women Entrepreneur Meetups. These are happening all over the world. Literally. Check it out and see what is the best fit for you!
A few other resources that may be helpful include:
- Alice. This is new from Dell and is an artificial intelligence platform that helps women entrepreneurs answer questions about financing, strategy, marketing and legal needs. Think of Siri for female entrepreneurs—sweet!
- iFundWomen. This is a relatively new crowdfunding platform for women-led startups and small businesses.
- InvestHER Ventures. This is an early state investment firm that partners with and invests in female entrepreneurs.
Hopefully, you found something here that will lead you to a new connection to other fabulous, smart, talented and interesting women! While we may not all walk around everyday wearing a metal corset and carrying a shield (some of us opt for T-shirts and yoga pants), nonetheless, we are all doing our part to help save the world in our own way by making it better, safer, stronger, more resilient and inclusive. The sum really is greater than its parts, especially when it comes to women helping women—so I have to agree with Miss Albright.
Let’s all keep lending helping hands and high fives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kiley Peters is the Co-Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique, Chicago-based full service web design and digital marketing agency. She has a decade of experience in the advertising industry and has managed digital strategies for dozens of B2B and B2C brands. Follow her on Twitter.