Focus on Solutions is a series of roundtables taking place in cities where there is a known women’s business network. During each session we deeply dive into at least one aspect of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to determine how well it is working, in particular for women entrepreneurs.
The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem includes access to finance, mentors, talent, markets, and support services. We are gathering women entrepreneurs as well as key players in the featured area of the ecosystem to garner best practices based on real world experience.
Our first roundtable discussion in the series took place in Boston, MA in October 2011. We discussed best practices in raising capital. Hosted at Simmons College School of Management Center for Entrepreneurship, we had an amazing and robust conversation with women entrepreneurs on one side of the table and investors on the other.
The Philadelphia and Stanford Roundtables also focused on best practices in fundraising with entrepreneurs, investors and researchers again taking part. The results from these three roundtables show us that there is a true body of evidence that can help women entrepreneurs as they seek funding for their great business ideas.
In June 2012, we met in Seattle with entrepreneurs and mentors to discuss best practices in seeking a mentorship and becoming a mentor. We realized that one of the key to entrepreneurial success is finding the right mentor. Mentors also described how fulfilling it is to them to help guide an entrepreneur through the process.
The invaluable insights gained from the Focus on Solutions Series Roundtables will be made available to the SmartGirls Way community of women entrepreneurs. Blogs, white papers, videos, and interviews will be crafted into useful learning tools that our community can use at varying stages of growth.
The ultimate goal of the series is to create a blueprint for entrepreneurial ecosystems that will increase the success of women-led startups and young companies. Such a blueprint could be used city by city, region by region, to improve economic vitality while enhancing entrepreneurial success and diversity.