Startup Weekend recently held their first all-women’s event in Cincinnati. This event reflects a recent trend of women in entrepreneurship. Two members of our team, Keri Dooley and Renee Murphy, volunteered to present on smart and iterative research approaches at the event. We sat down with them to learn more about Startup Weekend, and the trend of women in entrepreneurship.
What is startup weekend?
Startup weekend is a Friday to Sunday event where people bring their ideas and transform that idea into a flushed out business model. The atmosphere is very fast paced and energetic. You don’t have to be a serious entrepreneur or come from a business background to participate. In fact, having different perspectives coming together is part of what makes startup weekend so great. This past event focused on women in entrepreneurship, and we loved that the judges and mentors were female leaders with proven success as entrepreneurs that could uniquely speak to what it means to be a woman in a startup.
With this being the first all-women startup weekend in Cincinnati, what did it mean to you to be a part of it, and to be able to inspire women to create ideas and pursue entrepreneurship?
It was interesting because women are still underrepresented in the startup community. At the same time, the Cincinnati startup ecosystem is beginning to gain a lot of momentum and thrive. It meant a lot to us to be able to provide the women there with the resources to attack real needs and gain that experience. These women were able to walk out of the event with the huge opportunity to get seed money to continue to pursue some of their startup ideas. We also hope that what they learned over the weekend will help them in their day-to-day lives as well, and that they continue to stay connected to the startup ecosystem.
What did you learn being a part of the event?
We learned a lot from the exposure to the different perspectives the women brought to the table, and were able to see how the concepts we were teaching can be applied beyond business. The diversity of ideas was refreshing and it renewed our passion for entrepreneurship.
The rise of women-led startups is a new trend. Why do you think more and more women are starting their own businesses and joining the startup ecosystem?
As more and more resources become available, it enables increased opportunities for women to become entrepreneurs. A startup can provide a lot of flexibility that can lead to a great work/life balance where women no longer have to compromise other areas of their life such as having a family. It’s been great to see.
Where did you discover your passion for entrepreneurship?
(Renee) I discovered it through necessity. A bit back in my career, I faced several constraints that drove me towards entrepreneurship and innovating my way to a better work-life balance. I was able to pursue an idea that fit within the constraints, and became one of the biggest successes of my career, while giving me a better work-life balance (a true win/win/win!). Through that process I discovered a passion for identifying unmet needs and creating solutions based on constraints.
(Keri) For me it started in college. I was an entrepreneurship major, and owned a business with my brother while I was still in school. Entrepreneurship is part of my personality. It takes bravery and initiative to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable, but I’m drawn to those characteristics.
The Garage Group enables corporate teams and brands to innovate and grow like startups, including corporate events and competitions, inspired by Startup Weekend, that bring fresh approaches, skills and mindsets to corporate teams.