People often ask me – what is Women@Austin? Is it an organization, a community, an initiative? My answer is that it’s actually all three. We’re building a trusted network within Austin, a movement really, to help women-led businesses multiply and be successful here. We’re 100% focused on making Austin the most accessible, supportive city in the nation for women entrepreneurs.
We’re not naïve about what will be required for that national stage – more Austin female founders must be empowered in our ecosystem to be successful. Start-ups are hard. We’ve been there. Heck, most of us on the Steering Committee are still there, on our 3rd or 4th startup. We love this stuff. We understand that to truly change the ratios, Austin women need more of three things: 1) mentorship 2) visibility, and 3) access to capital. Those are the pillars around which we’re building Women@Austin. You’ll be reading more about these pillars in future posts, and what we need to realize progress.
We’re also approaching things different. At the core of Women@Austin is a Steering Committee of twenty successful women entrepreneurs and executives helping to shape the vision. When we came together last Fall we didn’t want to just talk about diversity and ratios, we wanted to be part of the solution. We’re driving change through signature public events once a quarter with entrepreneurs from every stage of their journey cross-pollinating, hearing stories of success and failure, and sharing lessons learned. Speakers and panelists are targeted from within and outside of Austin, including investors, mentors, city leaders. A truth that was quickly confirmed to us at our inaugural event in February – which sold out in 5 days – is that woman want to learn from other women. They’re hungry to understand how other women are navigating their businesses, building their teams, and overcoming challenges. In addition, curated peer groups are being added this Summer to continue the learning and increase opportunities to find Mentors.
We’re all here because of someone else. We need each other. With Women@Austin we have the opportunity to leave a legacy for women in Austin. Austin can (and should) be known for our ability to attract women, to become the most accessible, supportive city for female-led business in America. If you’re a female founder, a leader on an entrepreneurial team, or just someone who cares about high growth women-led business here in Austin — come join us on the journey in making a difference.