Do women and men entrepreneurs have different needs in order to succeed?
If this were a multiple choice question, many of you may check the "No, Duh!" box. We here at Women Startup would disagree.
We are different and proud of our differences. There is plenty of research that supports the "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" line of thought: our relationships are different. In the boardroom and in the workplace, we respond differently, react differently and make decisions differently. Our responsibilities are skewed differently. Until they invent the mechanical womb, we won the biological lottery, we get to carry that baby for nine months and worry about it for years after. We organize pickups and dentist appointments, dinners and school bakeathons much more than our male counterparts. We typically do a lot more of the family/children related worrying. Our interests are different. We learn differently. So, it is hardly surprising to us that women entrepreneurs would need a slightly different environment to thrive.
At Woman Startup we did a lot of research to understand what that environment might be. With that we came up with our Pink List #1 of top 5 things Woman Entrepreneurs need.
1. Helpful community (I want to hang out with women who understand me, who are willing to help, who I can help, who are facing the same issues I may be facing, who have solutions to some of my problems, who I can reach out to for a 10 pm phone call the day before an investor pitch and have them take the call.)
2. Resources to get things done: We all need resources and recommendations: coders, legal, biz dev, interns, sales people...My full list includes: engineers, MongoDB gurus and investors and an occasional need for a recommendation for hosting a birthday party for a teen.
3. Space: CoWorking has so many benefits for the early stage entrepreneur. It will get me out of the house and out of my sweats, into comfy spaces, in cool neighborhoods with shops and cafes, so I can have that occasional water cooler chat.
4. Inspiration and Advice: Speakers who get me out of my current rut, who help me think up new solutions, who energize and inspire me to achieve greater heights. I want to hear other peoples stories and learn from them.
5. Team: We are always looking to expand the team: cofounders, tech people, biz dev people, partners and others.
Folks, we are describing a community of practice. Cognitive anthropologists Etienne Lave and Jean Wenger noted that a community of practice or a tribe, is when a group of people come together around shared goals, help each other, appoint tribe leaders who mentor and counsel, and then inspire each other to achieve success. Communities of practice succeed where individuals don't because of these supportive relationships - when someone takes an interest in your success and helps you. And that is what WomanStartup is about. We want to create that Community of Practice so we can all thrive - and succeed.
As I look at this list, it is probably the same at the top level as the list for male entrepreneurs - but the details that color my list turn it into a Pink List. Did I miss anything? Join the conversation. Tell us.