When my husband and I moved to Salt Lake City five years ago, we were starting from scratch after living in Brazil for four years. We had to look for an apartment, jobs, and a new social community. I was excited to learn about the burgeoning business, startup and tech community in Utah, but I didn’t hear much about any women’s organizations until I came across Womenpreneurs.
Womenpreneurs was started in 2015 by Rose Maizner and Stephanie Stettler. It came from the fact that they were both working in the investment space, usually being the only woman in the room at meetings and not interacting with many female founders. They had one event that year called Womenpreneurs and that’s how the organization began
In 2016, they formed their first Executive Committee, which I had the pleasure of being involved with that first year. What started as one event, turned into three the second year, which developed into a full fledged team, website and all types of programming for aspiring founders, leaders and investors.
“I realized that one of the things female founders all had in common was that they were struggling to access mentorship, resources and capital,” Rose Maizner says. “Our theory is, in order to build companies that are not only female founded, but which are inherently inclusive of the values, traits and skills that women bring to the table, we need to have more women on the other side of the table as decision makers and investors who can support, champion and fund these companies.”
Now in its fifth year, Womenpreneurs is a community of over 1,000 women and has hosted a total of 20 large-scale events. They have recently launched two new programs, Ascendant Circles and The Raise, with the idea that, in order to build strong, well-funded and well-supported female-driven companies, women must be resourced and empowered throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem, as investors, founders, leaders, and champions. In 2020, Womenpreneurs plans to launch a third new program specifically to train and support female investors. These three programs are designed to build leadership capacity and investment savvy of female leaders on both sides of the funding table. Stay tuned for program enrollments this Fall, as well as a suite of upcoming community events.
When you think that $100 billion dollars was invested in companies last year and only 2.2% went to women, there is clearly a need to provide a community, mentorship, resources, and support for female entrepreneurs. On the leadership side, in Utah only 37% of all employed women are in managerial roles, which ranks the state 46th in the nation. On top of that, a recent study showed that female participation in the workforce drops significantly at mid career. While women hold 46% of entry level roles, that number plummets to 29% at the VP level. There is a need to support women so they have an opportunity to reach the leadership positions they desire, which is not just good for women, but good for companies as well.
To learn more about Womenpreneurs, you can check out their site and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. (Click here to learn more: http://www.womenpreneursutah.com)