Women 2.0


“A recession is the best time to start a company. The opportunity cost is low, hiring good people is relatively easy, rent and equipment are cheap (sometimes free) and established competitors are focused on reducing costs & staying in business, not on innovation. The key is being in a good position when the economy picks backup”

states Rebecca Lynn, Principal of Morgenthaler Ventures, a Venture capital and private equity firm. Well, this position might be discussible but made me think of how Germany deals with start-ups.

Here, workless people were urged to stand up and to create a one-man start-up instead of receiving benefits. Since 2006, they could apply for the ‘Existenzgründungszuschuss’, a subvention for founders of the ironically called Ich-AG (“Me-corporation”). Nice deal, as it reduces the uncomfortably high unemployment rate. Besides that, I question myself why I am studying at a business school if management was so easy and every next-door sales assistant would be able to run a company. Who takes the responsibility for telling people how effortless they could manage their own company (after a quick seminar where they learn to write their business plans)?

I also read about another way to help people starting a company, coming from Silicon Valley. Women 2.0 is an organisation helping women to found start-ups in technical fields. Women developers, designers or engineers can apply for the so-called Founder Lab, which helps women founders to develop their idea from the very start to a complete new company. Their mission is “to increase the number of female founders of technology start-ups, by enabling entrepreneurs with a network, resources and knowledge to take your startup from an idea to launch.”
Three weeks ago, on November 4th, 2010 Women 2.0 ran the Women 2.0 PITCH Night, an event that brought finalists of a startup competition onstage to compete for the top prizes. Winner was Apply in the Sky, a website helping (other women) to manage the MBA admission process. That’s a nice deal!

According the Economist, women represent less than a third of students enrolled in full-time MBA programmes.

Sure, the Apply in the Sky idea will not ease the main reasons for this phenomenon like the high requirement of 4-5 years of work experience and the large financial investment an MBA programme involves, as Mary Miller, Columbia Business School in New York reports. But it might help more women to enroll in business schools where they can attend strategic management classes and enable them to decide if founding a company might be the right way for them.

For me, a far better and more sustainable approach than founding another nail studio.

6 Responses to “Women 2.0”
  1. thob84 says:

    This is a clearly structured post talking about an interesting topic – business start ups. I think you are right to ask if the today’s entrepreneur is qualified. For further reading regard Joseph Alois Schumpeter. One benchmark could be innovation in order to estimate this point.

  2. katjo2010 says:

    Great and interesting post! Thank You!
    The American approach sounds very nice, but would it be applicable here? If yes, isn’t there something similar in Germany? I would be surprised if not. Here is something I found, that might be worth considering: “Power für Gründerinnen”. This is an initiative started by the BMBF, ministry for education and research, to support women to found start-ups. But surely not every German start-up entrepreneur is qualified, as Thob also already mentioned, and this initiative will certainly not fight the causes of that.

  3. Bruce Spear says:

    VERY nice post! And it is very interesting to me how differently I read the women2.org website. What I saw was a rich social calendar with lots of opportunities for people to meet in all sorts of contexts, including singles who like to meet over food, and what I observe in your article is less social and more organization oriented: that you can apply for support from the Arbeitsamt and founder group, apply to win a prize, or apply to a business school. I am writing this not as a criticism of what you’ve done, but out of curiosity: I spend most of my time at the HWR organizing group blogging to support peer-group support, because the research shows that learning and achievement are strongly correlated with groups. Maybe the question would be: are you yourself learning more from state subsidy, winning prizes, and formal academic programs than you are from the people you meet in them? I myself don’t know how to answer this (without referring to research studies), but maybe you might?

  4. diiasg says:

    Very Nice Post.

    I found a video that discusses some of the same things.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] all of you. Katrin and Maria once related to the topic with her articles Women and networking and  Women 2.0. Until now, we have more focused on general management […]

  2. […] Women 2.0 – I chose a topic of my interest, found different sources and views and put them all together in my fourth post. Plus, I spiced up my layout by using appropriate pictures and a diagramme. First feeling of success – my post got tweeted (by external persons – wow!). Amongst others by the CEO of a company I have been writing about! I finally believed in what Bruce used to tell us. Chose your audience. Talk to them. Be a connector – and things will get back to you. […]

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