By Shaherose Charania (Co-Founder & CEO, Women 2.0) I moved to Silicon Valley in 2005 and almost always was the only woman in the room at business, technology or entrepreneurship networking events.
Then one day, I met a guy named Noah Kagan who introduced me to a few awesome women he knew. He said, “I want you to meet these women, I think you should do something together.” He booked a room at the Palo Alto Facebook office for us where he worked; and without any formal security clearance (this was back in 2005), we the founders of Women 2.0 met, talked and conceived the name -- Women 2.0 --and established what it stood for -- a new generation of entrepreneurs. That’s it, no real plan, no real vision, just the name and what it meant. Let’s just say, the rest is history! Here we are today with a company we never thought we’d be building and growing.
Today, Women 2.0 can reach tens of thousands of aspiring and current entrepreneurs, has hosted hundreds of events and hundreds of new blog posts sharing stories and lessons from female entrepreneurs.
Our mission is to increase the number of female entrepreneurs, technologists and investors via our networked blog, networking events around the world, an annual startup competition PITCH, and a vibrant community.
Women entrepreneurs are evolving. Take a look at this sleek infographic for the changes we’ve seen in the Women 2.0 community -- from the number of founders, to our global reach to the needs of our community --- all "up and to the right."
And there is more good news! Women 2.0 today announces that the Kauffman Foundation is providing Women 2.0 with a second annual sponsorship to support our work. This sponsorship will enable Women 2.0 to expand our educational resources to the female entrepreneur community via our blog network of relevant content and the expansion of global networking events such as Founder Friday.
As the new dominant influencer of consumer and business-to-business spending, female entrepreneurs are a driving force of economic growth. With the support of the Kauffman foundation, Women 2.0 will continue to provide resources for women that will strengthen a growing technology community. Besides, we all know this, women on founding teams, also build better businesses.
It will also support the growth of our networking events -- these are critical to building community in cities of innovation. We’ve hosted more than 75 global events to date with nearly 10,000 attendees and are expanding Founder Friday from San Francisco to the Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona, Madrid and with other major markets to be launched year. These events are targeted towards connecting burgeoning female entrepreneurs and engineers with by working with established technology company founders and investors.
The Kauffman Foundation’s Lesa Mitchell said, “The rate of startups is at 15-year high, however there isn’t a single resource, or hub that provides resources to future female entrepreneurs to follow that path successfully,” She went on to say, “Women 2.0 is fulfilling a distinct void by way of content, networking events and education, which are critical to supporting a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are happy to be a part of building this new engine for growth.”
Pretty awesome, huh?
Women 2.0 has entered the next phase of growth, extending its reach through online and social channels to engage the broader, global community of female entrepreneurs. Our new blog series will be a forum for conversation that will enable the promise of creating a business idea to become a reality.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Shaherose Charania is Co-Founder and CEO of Women 2.0. She is also the founder of Founder Labs an early stage mobile-focused incubator. She was previously at Opinno, a global network of incubator spaces, entrepreneurs and investors. At heart she is a mobile and telephony junkie. She’s led new consumer products at Ribbit (BT). Previously, she was Director of Product Management at JAJAH (sold to Telefonica/O2). Follow her on Twitter at @shaherose.