A founder of Women 2.0 explains how the startup scene is evolving for women and offers networking advice for aspiring female founders. By Jessica Stillman (Writer, Inc.)
Silicon Valley may earn praise for its creativity and dynamism, but rarely is America's foremost startup hub held up as a model of diversity. The world's engineers may flock to the area's startups, but when Shaherose Charania moved to the Valley to explore becoming an entrepreneur several years ago, she often found herself the only woman on product teams and at networking events.
These days, she and a few friends are doing something about this gender imbalance with Women 2.0, an organization that supports female founders and runs a host of women-friendly networking events around the world.
Jessica Stillman spoke with Charania to ask how the startup ecosystem is evolving for women and how young female entrepreneurs can best grow their networks.
Jessica Stillman: Why did you start Women 2.0? Shaherose Charania: We weren't planning to start this. It just happened. Back in 2006 I had just located to the Bay Area from Canada. I'd worked a little, but this was going to be my first real place to build a career, and I kind of wanted to start a company. Building a network is one of the first things you should do when you're thinking about being an entrepreneur, otherwise you're alone. Someone that I'd met through networking said, "hey, there are three other girls that are pretty cool. You should meet and do something." He was organizing networking events, and I was always the only girl. It didn't really bother me, but he introduced me to other girls and we sat down and were like, 'yeah, it's kind of weird. We're always the only girls at these events.