After interviewing 30 women about their experiences as female entrepreneurs, I feel like I have a new perspective on what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, a female, and a female entrepreneur. How can I possibly express my gratitude to the women I’ve gotten to meet during my internship this summer? I was so amazed by the wisdom, strength, and determination that these women had. I have no doubt that they will change the world in their own ways.
Having this new understanding of the Raleigh female entrepreneurial scene, I felt it would be selfish not to share it with my community. I got the chance to speak to women all the way from high schoolers to seasoned angel investors. There were artists, accidental entrepreneurs, start-up queens, and lawyers, and everything in between. There were international travellers, feminist manifestos, and tech nerds.
I’ll be sharing each of their stories with you, but here are some themes that I noticed:
- Many women are accidental entrepreneurs. They did not seek to become entrepreneurs, but the chance came, and they seized it. There is so much power in this, but I’d also like to see more purposeful entrepreneurship in the scene.
- There’s a huge divide between ‘entrepreneurship-focused’ women versus small business owners (shops, restaurants, etc). There’s two separate worlds, and I think they have a lot to learn from each other. I’d love to find some way for these worlds to communicate.
- There’s vast resources for Raleigh, but they aren’t necessarily accessible to all women and all kinds of women. Raleigh is a hidden gem for entrepreneurship. There’s an open-mindedness, a community, and so many resources. Share them with everyone.
- Some women strongly identify with being female entrepreneurs, and some don’t. There was a stark contrast in these two different identities, and I’m not sure how to reconcile them, or which is the right way to approach getting women ahead.
- Most women agreed that all-female spaces were helpful (to some extent), and that it was important for women to network, share experiences, and most importantly, lift each other up.
- So many women left the corporate world either to have ownership, exit the traditional workplace, or have flexibility of their schedules.
- Women struggle to get funding. They struggle to network. And many struggle to present themselves confidently and assertively. Change this. Go after what you want with confidence and grace and Own. Your. Strengths.
- Each and every woman has a story to tell and something to offer to the world. Lift them up, see their power, and let their badassery shine.
Like I said, I feel changed by this experience. Some women have touched my heart in ways I will forever appreciate and remember. I truly think Raleigh female entrepreneurs are strong, smart, and determined. Their presence will continue to grow. I am proud to have been a part of this community of Raleigh female entrepreneurs, and I will always remember my experience at e51