Women in startups: who are they, and how do we get more?

For years the subject of “how can we attract more women into the startup industry?” has been a big questions with few answers. Last fall Inc.com asked about some of the issues women in startups have to go through to make their dream come to life, and the response from 279 different women were discouraging. DNB Nyheter also posted a story about a “girl power-investor” stating that only 16% of norwegian startups are founded by women.

In spring 2017, when a group of master students from NTNU did a dissertation on the gender balance in technology coworking spaces in Trondheim, the results showed that between FAKTRY and NTNU Accel the current balance was 16,6% women.

Possible solutions

The dissertation resulted in suggestions of what could be done to change this discouraging fact, and one of the suggestions was to start as early as kindergarden, and in the familys to change the attitude towards gender patterns kids are growing up with.

Ann Veronica Rømo, CEO of Omhus AS.

From the source

DIGS was not a part of this research, but are proud to say that we are now at 30% female members at our hub. We still have a way to go, but we keep taking small steps in the right direction. To find out what makes women want to be a part of a coworking space, we asked all of our female members what’s important to them when choosing a career in the startup scene, and what they would want to change to see more women walking in the doors of the hubs. This is some of the answers we got:

Ann Veronica Rømo:
– I wanted to be my own boss, create something and controll my own hours. First, I believed in my idea, then I thought about finance – how can I pay my bills? Being able to have a desk and “go to work” and meet co workers was a big pro.
I believe that women are more risk-averse, and to change that through dialogue, and to support each other is very important. I believe the more we know regarding risk and possibilities the easier it is to make the decision to start or join a startup.

“the startup and
coworking world
isn’t a boy’s club”

45707989_1589360904543223_8259762893835206656_n copy
Jennifer Wold, Media and Communications manager of Heat Experience.

Jennifer Wold:
– As for working in startups, it is only natural. It feels like home being among those charting new territories. I love the passion and the dedication of those who believe in something so much they are going to do what it takes to make it happen. It is time for women to be brave and get messy. It isn’t as scary as you think. If you stand by your convictions and work hard as an entrepreneur must, no one is going to care about your gender.
Women should know that the startup and coworking world isn’t a boy’s club. There are other women entrepreneurs and startups out there who are successful and eagerly supported.  Some are tucked in right here at DIGS. The point of a coworking space is to have a place to be perfectly imperfect, learn, grow and flourish with a community cheering you on. All you have to do is show up, be real, be honest, be helpful and be kind, and you’ll be part of the tribe in no time.

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