Event Recap by Ekaterina Ramirez
This morning I attended a fabulous event: “Innovating Differently: Women, Entrepreneurship & Technology” organized by FWE and StartUp Canada. Around 200 women came to listen to a panel discussion of 16 trail-blazing women from Vancouver’s Technology, StartUp & Entrepreneurial communities.
The discussion was dynamic and educational. I will jump right into outlining my take-aways.
Mini-panel #1: Innovating Differently: Why women are critical to innovation, entrepreneurship and technology
- Women solve problems while innovating. They use technology not just to come up with a cool idea. Women tend to solve real problems.
- Women tend to be more thoughtful while creating a new solution.
- When you think about technology, think deeper. You can innovate not only with tech products. Technologies can be used in all aspects of business.
- You can innovate with technology while selling ordinary consumer goods.
Mini-panel #2: Launching a Start-Up: Lessons learned from successes and failures
- Usually startups lack time, money, and resources. Learn to solve problems creatively.
- Don’t take NO as a final answer. Next time it can be YES.
- Tough love: You launch and nobody cares. Think about distribution right from the start.
- It is valuable to have more resourceful people in your team (they can be co-founders.)
- FOCUS. Don’t spread yourself thin juggling many projects simultaneously.
Mini-panel #3: The New Economy: How technology is enabling a thriving culture of startups out of the home
- Think more than just money. Define how you want your business to serve you. Think about lifestyle, flexibility, and family.
- Technology enables women to start home-based businesses on a small budget.
- Take advantage of social media.
- Do your research before launching a business. Make sure you DO have a market.
- Build scalable systems right away: content management, contact databases, manuals, and etc.
- FOCUS. Let go of tendency to run after shiny objects and new ideas.
Mini-panel #4: Financing Start-Ups: Incubating, Accelerating, Funding – What’s working, what’s not, what’s hot.
- Your relationships with Venture Capitalists are long-term partnerships. Nurture these relationships. Think what you can give to VC.
- Stay away from debt if you can. It can drain you emotionally and intellectually.
- Get top advisers.
- Consider crowdfunding.
- Remember: when you give away chunks of your business you give away control.
- Learn how to find the right contacts and build relationships.
Wrap-up Question: Should you stay in Vancouver if you want to build a high-tech company?
Collective Answer: Yes. Entrepreneurial community in Vancouver is big and vibrant. Engineers here are less expensive. Think global. Act local.
#InnovatingDifferently to join the conversation on Twitter.
Ekaterina Ramirez, @Ekat_Ra