Women who turned up for the Girls in Technopreneurship were not disappointed when they attended the all-ladies evening event.
This was held at the spanking new Block 79 Build Amazing Startups Here (BASH), an integrated co-working pad for Singapore entrepreneurs.
Women with an avid interest in all things technology and entrepreneurship delved into the trendiest technological issues about cloud services, big data, Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics.
More so, the Girls in Technopreneurship was also a platform for women to share knowledge and exploring opportunities to collaborate in a project together.
The Girls in Technopreneurship event is one of numerous technopreneurship events held within Singapore’s renowned startup park at One-north. The Singapore government has allocated space on the west side of Singapore for accelerators, investors, entrepreneurs and Singapore startups. The 200-hectare One-north area, also houses clusters of companies in research & development (R&D), biomedical sciences, infocomm technology (ICT) and media industries. The ecosystem is buzzing with new ideas and new companies.
For the evening affair, organised by Girls in Tech (GIT) and run by volunteers, it was the first time they tried to draw women in the tech community together to hear from tech industry. Experts such as Rashid Mohiuddin and design engineer Sacha Carina spoke about how women in Singapore could do their bit to tinker with technology and entrepreneurship.
Women Technopreneurship in the US
Today, it is of common knowledge that the technopreneurship industry is dominated by men, particularly those involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activities as reported in a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2014 report.
Several reviews have identified reasons behind the gender imbalance in the technopreneurship world. One reason brought up by Mathilde Collin, co-founder and CEO of collaborative email app Frontapp, was that venture capitalists (VCs) preferred investing in startups whose founders “are males” and of “computer-science majors” background. Such a preference could have led to only two per cent of women who started their business ventures with equity financing, and only 11 per cent, whether start-up or established, have received venture capital backing. The total amount of venture funds that go to women-led companies is only seven per cent.
Naturally this begs the question of whether companies led by men are more successful or women since venture capitalists take risks on companies they consider have a good chance of success.
Singapore is no exception with men taking the lead in entrepreneurial business ventures. It is unclear if Singapore entrepreneur women face similar challenges like their American counterparts in attracting venture capitalists to invest in them. Technopreneurship events in Singapore have been successful in firstly attracting more women to come forward to achieve ideation and realisation of their business innovation.
This has led the Singapore government including the Infocomm Investments (IIPL), the investment arm of Singapore Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) to team up with accelerators and investors to help more women pilot their own home-grown startups with recent figures showing a sharp rise in venture capital investment in the tech sector from SGD 38 million (USD28 million) in 2011 to SGD 2.3 billion (USD1.7 billion) in 2013.
Believe in Yourself
As IT expert Rashid Mohiuddin mentioned, the time has indeed come for entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity to “what technology can do in the market and the value it can create in the market”.
Specifically, Mr Mohiuddin encouraged the participants to leverage on the current five key trends in the world of information technology: cloud services, Internet of Things, Mobility, Social Media and Big Data, also known as the Nexus of Forces, as termed by information technology research company Gartner. It is believed that the merger of these technologies would give further expansion of digital businesses especially so where it is predicted that the combination of social cloud, mobile, and big data technologies will drive around 90 per cent of all the growth in the IT market by 2020, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). This, as Mr Mohiuddin explained, is the opportunity for women.
Sacha Carina, a design engineer by profession, was seen as an inspiration for many women to emulate as she is one of a few women in the male-dominated technopreneurship space. Here, she shared with the audience of setting up Mr Leopard a creative technology and design consultancy startup in Singapore after having found the opportunity to merge together two of her biggest passions: technology and design engineering. She also had the opportunity to work with Google and TNT Express among others.
The advice Ms Carina has for Singapore women is to “believe in yourself and speak out about what you want…because the world is a good place as people are always willing to help”.
About the Web
- How to Close the Startup Gender Gap (wsj.com)
- The Nexus of Forces in Action (opengroup.org)
- Investors prefer entrepreneurial ventures pitched by attractive men (pnas.org)
- VC: Here’s Why We Are Funding More Women Startup Founders (businessinsider.sg)
- Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2014 Global Report (gemconsortium.org)