AWIS Report Outlines Barriers For Women STEM Entrepreneurs

By Chemical Processing Staff

Jun 05, 2018

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) releases its report, “Revolutionizing the STEM Entrepreneurship Ecosystem,” outlining systemic entrepreneurship barriers to opportunity and access for women in STEM. In addition, the report provides actionable recommendations for businesses, investors and entrepreneurship support programs to expand funding opportunities, increase diversity and cultivate gender equity in STEM. AWIS is a global organization that advocates for women in STEM.

“Women STEM entrepreneurs face a whole host of systemic inclusion challenges. Over the last four years, more than 200 companies made their initial public offerings, yet fewer than 20 were led by women CEOs and only four of whom were led by women of color,” says Janet Bandows Koster, executive director and CEO of the Association of Women in Science. “Working with entrepreneurs and investors across the country, AWIS is able to understand why conventional approaches are failing and identify tangible ways to address these issues effectively. Every investor, business leader, accelerator director and woman in STEM should read this report.”

Among other solutions, the new AWIS report outlines the following answers to systemic entrepreneurship barriers faced by women in all disciplines of STEM, especially women of color:

  • Funders, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship support program leaders should seek connections to organizations and individuals with a demonstrated track record of engagement with diverse founders;
  • Incubators and accelerators should remove “weed out” philosophy and keep entrepreneurs engaged through holistic support; and,
  • Investors should start collecting demographic data on founders and their leadership teams and boards and share it openly.

The research draws on findings from the AWIS STEM to Market (S2M) two-part program that reportedly galvanizes inclusive and productive STEM entrepreneurial ecosystems. STEM to Market is funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The report was presented at the AWIS Summit on Innovation and Inclusion: Women at the Forefront of STEM in San Francisco with nearly 200 influential STEM leaders in attendance including Bahija Jallal, PhD, president, MedImmune and executive vice president, AstraZeneca; president, AWIS National Governing Board; Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Tony Prophet, MBA, chief equality officer, Salesforce; Melinda Richter, MBA, global head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS; and Rachel Haurwitz, PhD, president and CEO, Caribou Biosciences.

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