One founder notices something odd when speaking on an entrepreneurship panel.
By Ishveen Anand (Founder & CEO, OpenSponsorship)
Last week I was asked to speak at the GW Women in Business entrepreneurship panel, an annual conference held at George Washington University celebrating Women in Business.
The three of us on the entrepreneurship panel all had different backgrounds, were different ages and worked in different industries: food, fashion and sports. Our common denominator was not only being female entrepreneurs, but also having chosen technology as the best way to bring a solution to the problem we saw in our respective industries.
Looking over the whole program for the conference, I found it interesting that the entrepreneurship panel could essentially be called the technology panel. There wasn’t separate section dedicated to technology and 100 percent of our panelists were tech founders. Other panels included marketing, sports, fashion, finance and law.
Assuming that panelists were chosen on the basis of what the audience would be interested in, or the specific class taught at George Washington, it’s interesting to think what this means. Is the future of entrepreneurship technology or is technology seen as synonymous for entrepreneurship?
Something Missing from the Conversation
I enjoyed the questions the audience posed and the tips that my fellow founders offered. Some of the recurring topics included how to select co-founders, how to build a team, how to deal with the initial ‘starvation’ days and how to find investors.
Despite all the good questions, I was a little perturbed by the lack of focus on the actual technology. There was not one question about development, coding, languages, selecting payment platforms etc. Say we do assume that technology and entrepreneurship are synonymous. Surely then, the budding entrepreneurs in the room should be asking us these kind of things and how we figure them out.
As a non-technical founder, my biggest setback is not knowing how to code and having to learn from my team multiple aspects of building a good platform. In my opinion, founders who are developers have a much easier time in all four of the questions above: co-founders, team, bootstrapping and investment.
With women only making up 20 percent of the coders graduating from the app academies of the world, are we putting ourselves at a disadvantage as entrepreneurs from the beginning?
Time to Talk Tech
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean starting a business tomorrow. It means doing what it takes to get there. Those who want to become successful entrepreneurs need to realize the importance of learning the technology.
Now there are so many resources to help beginners learn how to code and understand platform decisions, so there’s no excuse. And, as women founders of tech platforms, we need to focus more on these aspects in front of such audiences and drive home how much startup success — and our own success as entrepreneurs — relies on understanding technology.
Thanks to fellow co-founders from Spoon University and Tuckernuck.
How much of a role does tech play in your startup?
Photo credit: Africa Studio via Shutterstock.