Startup Weekend Calgary Looks to Promote Women in Design

Startup Weekend Calgary had an encouraging past 10 months, throwing two successful events while attracting over 200 participants. That led to the creation of 24 startups, which lead to one acquisition.

Now organizers are set to put on Startup Weekend Calgary’s newest edition, this time celebrating Awesome Women in Technology, on November 8-10 at the Alberta College of Art + Design.

“We don’t see a lot of female faces in the hi-tech startup sector, particularly as founders or in leadership roles” said Kylie Toh, Founder of Chic Geek and a Startup Weekend organizer. “This is just another step towards changing that. Women add a lot of value to the startup community – they offer diverse perspectives and alternative approaches to problem-solving in ways that are critical to business success. Doing an all-women event creates a supportive environment for women to explore their entrepreneurial side and collaborate with other like-minded women”.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where engineers, scientists, designers, marketers, and anyone interested in entrepreneurship, come together to share ideas, build teams, create products, and launch startups. It is a huge community of entrepreneurs, with over 6,000 startups created in more than 400 cities around the world.

The Calgary crew offered the statistic that VC-backed companies have a greater chance of either going public, operating profitably or being sold for more money than they’ve raised when they have women as founders, board members, C-level officers, vice presidents and/or directors. Those numbers came from a DowJones study involving over 20,000 companies and 167,556 executives. To add to that, the February 2013 Startup Weekend Calgary winning startup was acquired within months, and had a woman at its helm.

While all those numbers are really nice, the fact remains that women are sadly misrepresented by a long shot in careers related to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and this has been the same old story for years. There is no doubt that that number have been rising decade-over-decade, but the day where equal numbers of men and women in most positions in the economy (earning equal pay) has yet to come.

Nevertheless it’s always encouraging to see initiatives planned such as this one. At the very least, a few all-female startups or a few female entrepreneurs will develop into something greater as a result of this event.

The Startup Weekend Calgary organizers are putting tickets on sale next Friday October 18, and interested participants can visit their site for more info. Startup Weekend has built a network of more than 100,000 alumni, thousands of volunteer organizers and over 100 trained facilitators spread across more than 400 cities in more than 100 countries.

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