Despite recent editorial buzz about the entrepreneurial gap between genders widening, opportunities for New York startup founders is on the rise overall, thanks to premiere education, mentorship and funding resources available to entrepreneurs.
In a new report by the Kauffman Foundation, data shows new business creation has risen in nearly half of the nation’s 40 largest metro areas, with New York specifically having experienced a slight uptick in Opportunity Share of New Entrepreneurs from 2014 – 2015.
This means there has been an increase in entrepreneurs starting businesses because they saw more market opportunities in New York State. And while historically more men are likely to leave their jobs to seize new opportunities, Kauffman’s report shows that women are still launching 196,000 businesses a month, consistent with studies from 2013. Refreshing news, regardless of some media outlets reporting a decline in women-owned businesses.
In a recent example, Caroline Fairchild, New Economy Editor at LinkedIn, shared a post about how Fewer Women Starting Businesses May Not Be All Bad.
“In the wake of pre-recession lows,” Fairchild references a new corporate culture that prides itself on longer paid maternity leave and equal pay, thereby increasing work-life balance and negating the need for women to start their own businesses in order to work while raising their families.
An expert in the field of female entrepreneurship, Dr. Susan Fleming of Cornell University suggests that certainly while some corporations have adopted new programs to attract a broader workforce, these companies are anomalies as corporate culture takes many years to shift. She believes something more to consider when discussing the entrepreneurial gap between genders is the difficulty women face when trying to raise capital.
“Venture Capitalists generally invest in businesses that are presented to them through a trusted source. As we learned last year from the Diana Project on bridging the gender gap in Venture Capital, little VC funding goes to startups run by women. As someone who studies, teaches and invests in female entrepreneurs, it’s important to not only give women better access to funding, but connect them to the right mentors. I feel Upstate New York is breaking new ground in this area,” said Fleming.
Leading the way, Upstate Venture Connect (UVC) is a nonprofit that strives to connect entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and industry professionals in Upstate New York.
By Building, Measuring and Celebrating the startup economy, UVC Founder Martin Babinec and CEO Nasir Ali are committed to cultivating and sharing the region’s incredible intellectual resources in Upstate New York. In 2015, UVC was the winner of the Global Innovation Ecosystem Award.
Further, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), an annual national survey that measures the entrepreneurial activity and attitudes of people around the world, women in the U.S. are now nearly as likely as men to spot business opportunities and take calculated risks.
“What we need to do is keep a close eye on the amount of young women starting businesses,” said Fleming. “Investors are not in the business of building self-esteem. So it’s always refreshing to come across an entrepreneur, male or female, with confidence in their idea. This confidence directly correlates with investors wanting to partner.”
Upstate New York Female Entrepreneur Spotlight______________________
Right now, two out of the five StartFast Venture Accelerator teams in Syracuse, N.Y. have female co-founders.
Leanne Eckelberg of drone-automated roofing inspection startup, HoverStat Technologies, was employed before accepting entry into the Upstate New York accelerator.
Eckelberg shared how the Startfast program particularly stood out because of its track record in building successful companies, in addition to having connections with a national UAV testing facility at Griffiss International Airport.
“It was time for a leap of faith,” said Eckelberg. “I haven’t regretted the decision once.”
Now with the mentorship and access to capital, HoverStat is in prime position to receive the necessary seed funding to soar as a high-growth, high-tech startup.
Startfast Investment Opportunities Available__________________________
Additional Upstate New York accelerator programs include VCAMP, a technology accelerator in Buffalo, N.Y. that focuses on early-stage healthcare startups, and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) held at Mohawk Valley Community College. This 26-week program mentors motivated middle and high school students through the process of launching and running their own businesses.
There’s plenty more programs out there to assist UNY Startups. Connect with Upstate Venture Connect to gain access to all the resources available to make your entrepreneurial dreams comes true!
To stay connected to the Upstate New York startup ecosystem, follow Upstate Venture Connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest in funding opportunities, events for entrepreneurs and startup news.