The latest reports to come out for the industry as a whole estimate that 18% of startups overall have at least one female founder (source: TechCrunch and Crunchbase).
MassChallenge has historically supported higher-than-average rates of female entrepreneurs. Since 2012, 36% of all MassChallenge startups have at least one female founder. In MassChallenge Boston, 44% of the 2015 startups are female-founded, up from 31% in 2012.
Startups have a lot to improve upon with respect to diversity in tech, said MassChallenge Founder & CEO John Harthorne. It is only through close collaboration by the entire ecosystem can we truly tap into the entrepreneurial potential of the innovation community.”
MassChallenge has a unique model among others in the startup accelerator industry. The large-scale program supports entrepreneurs across any industry and does not take equity from the startups it supports. Women-led startups represent a wide range of industries at MassChallenge. Since 2012, the top female-founded industries represented are internet & web, medical devices, food & beverages, and education.
Several initiatives support women entrepreneurs at MassChallenge. In 2013, MassChallenge alumni organized a womens network, Women in MassChallenge (WiMC). WiMC is now part of both the Boston and UK accelerators and hosts regular meetings and an annual event. Hundreds of partners encourage applications to the accelerators each year. In February, Womens i-lab partnered with MassChallenge to provide more support to women entrepreneurs and specifically encourage female founders to apply.
The core job of an entrepreneur is to be a learner, and climbing that steep learning curve of building a company will inevitably lead to making a lot of mistakes, said Silverside Detectors Cofounder and MassChallenge alumna Sarah Haig. As a woman entrepreneur, sometimes I feel like I have less permission to fail than male counterparts – that I have to prove myself and my competence. Seeing hundreds of other companies in our MassChallenge cohort working through similar challenges helped me ditch the perfectionism trap and dive into trying and failing with confidence and with resilience.
In May, MassChallenge announced the 218 startups selected for the 2015 MassChallenge Boston and MassChallenge UK accelerators. Over 2,250 startups applied. From the end of June through the end of October, participating entrepreneurs receive mentorship, office space, education, access to a vast network, and other resources. MassChallenge awards over $2 million in non-dilutive grants to the startups demonstrating the highest impact and highest potential. MassChallenge also recently announced updated alumni metrics: the 617 MassChallenge alumni startups have raised over $947 million in funding, generated $485 million in revenue and created 5,105 jobs.
MassChallenge runs startup accelerators designed to catalyze a global renaissance by connecting high-impact startups with the resources they need to launch and succeed. Anyone can apply to MassChallenge, with any early-stage startup, in any industry, from anywhere in the world. MassChallenge does not take equity or place any restrictions on the startups it supports.
With programs in Boston, Israel and the UK, MassChallenge provides entrepreneurs with mentorship, office space, education, access to a vast network, and other resources during four months of acceleration. MassChallenge awards over $2 million in non-dilutive grants to the startups demonstrating the highest impact and highest potential. A nonprofit organization, MassChallenge is funded by corporate, public and foundation partners. To date, the 617 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $947 million in funding, generated $485 million in revenue and created 5,105 jobs. For more information, visit www.masschallenge.org.
Top MassChallenge Boston partners include: Jamestown, Fidelity Investments, Verizon, the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, CASIS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Deshpande Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Bler, American Airlines, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bose, EMC, Henkel, iNNpulsa Colombia, Microsoft, Pfizer, Smith & Nephew, Thomson Reuters, Turnstone, WGBH Boston, UMass Amherst, and Zapopan.
MassChallenge UK partners include: NatWest, Unilever, Visa Europe Collab, Satellite Application Catapult, Digital Catapult, Hult International Business School, Tech City UK, EMC, The Manchester Growth Company, GCHQ, ViiV, UK Business Angels Association, Angels Den, Media City UK, The Landing, Taylor Wessing, Fried Frank, The BIG Partnership, The Collective, Crowdcube, and Tobacco Dock.
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