About 160 women entrepreneurs from 15 countries, including India, are sharing their stories – experiences and challenges of starting their own enterprises – at the three-day Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) that began in Austin, Texas, on Sunday.
The theme for the fifth annual DWEN event, hosted in partnership with Intel, is Bold Beginnings, Brave Futures: The Stories and Technologies inspiring Global Entrepreneurs. The core objective of this initiative by Dell is to help women entrepreneurs scale up their businesses by zeroing in on the right business connections and proper networking. An integral part of this annual event is women sharing their stories.
Wendy Simpson, Chairman, Springboard Australia, and an entrepreneur herself who has taken this annual event to Australia, said the enterprise has been working for several years now to catapult women beyond home and cottage industries and encourage them to get into high-technology enterprises. The organisation, she adds, “is a highly vetted expert network of innovators, investors and influencers who are dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women.”
It also connects women to venture capitalists. “Actually,” she says, “the term venture capitalist, which once upon a time used to be vulture capitalist, is going to change very soon.” Her experience, after years of mentoring women entrepreneurs, is that more than men, women entrepreneurs do “relentless work” in ensuring that their investors get the return they were promised when the equity came in. Women entrepreneurs participating here have done everything, from starting boutique art hotels and technology companies to launching cosmetics for 45+ women and sending tourists to space.
On Austin as the chosen location, a Dell spokesperson said that one major reason is that the US has been voted the best place to be a female entrepreneur two years in a row in the Gender-GENI rankings. Additionally, it was in Austin that Dell had been launched, in a dormitory in the University of Texas. Austin is also the tech major’s global headquarters. “So it seemed a fit venue to celebrate the network's fifth anniversary,” she said.
(The writer is in Austin at the invitation of Dell.)