Less than a fifth of startup founders are female. This Berlin event aims to change that

3 min read
15 Nov 2018

tartup Guide and SAP Next-Gen have teamed up to host a panel discussion next Thursday with Berlin-based female founders who will share their experiences as founders and CEOs. We find out why they were interested in joining the panel.

83 percent of founders worldwide are men, according to a 2017 CrunchBase study. Photo: Unsplash/rawpixel

Less than one in five startup founders across the world are launched by women, according to a study last year by CrunchBase. That’s why, now more than ever, discussions and events like this are necessary so that women everywhere are increasingly inspired to take the lead.

The #sheinnovates event, which will be held from 10am to 12pm on Thursday, November 22nd at Ahoy! Berlin, is the first of three workshops hosted by Startup Guide and SAP Next-Gen in the next few weeks. The talk will be moderated by a Startup Guide team member.

#Sheinnovates is an initiative launched by SAP Next-Gen which strives to accelerate the advancement of females in innovation, tech and entrepreneurship. As such, while the breakfast event is open to everyone, it’s especially geared toward young women and students interested in starting up a business.

Since there’ll be a Q&A session after the panel discussion, attendees are encouraged to come with any questions they have. The workshops aim to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in others and also offer support for those wishing to launch their own company in the German capital.

If you don’t open up about your ideas, you cannot get feedback or input. Let’s use this panel to proactively discuss the ideas and needs of the attendees joining us.

“We’re inspired by the #sheinnovates initiative, especially the raising of market awareness of the potential for innovations developed by women,” the founders of CoWomen, Sara-Marie Wiechmann and Hannah Dahl, told Startup Guide.

Whereas less than 10 percent of Berlin’s tech startups have female founders, this figure is 17 percent across Europe and 24 percent in Silicon Valley.

Sara-Marie and Hannah will be two out of the five panelists speaking at the event. Having founded Berlin-based CoWomen, a community and coworking space for women on the rise, the two have been building a community of females in Berlin and giving them the space they need to grow.

Dedicated to women in the working world and influenced by her travels to cities across the globe like London, Cologne and Seattle, Sara-Marie has a keen interest in software and digitalization. Her cofounder, Hannah, has sponsored projects with social impact and finds motivation in accepting personal challenges and turning obstacles into opportunities.

Another panelist who’ll be speaking at the discussion is Lethabo Motsoaledi, the cofounder and CTO of research management software company voyc.ai, which supports companies by scaling their user research process.

“I always look forward to meeting and celebrating powerful and accomplished women,” said Lethabo, adding that another reason why she got on board is to inspire and empower other women by sharing her story.

With a passion for tech and development in Africa, Lethabo was among the 200 young South Africans who received the Mail & Guardian award in 2017. The Cape Town native believes in the power of collaboration among people from various industries and cultural backgrounds for a progressive society.

Two more panelists will be sharing their story on stage next week: Kerstin Bock and Carolin Lessoued, the founders of Openers. Openers is consulting firm that strives to connect and empower innovative companies through conversation.

“It’s important for us to speak up about our experiences and share our learnings,” Kerstin and Carolin told Startup Guide. We’ve always been into doing business well so that we can be seen as role models for future founders, they explained.

Pointing out that the startup industry is all about sharing, Kerstin said: “If you don’t open up about your ideas, you cannot get feedback or input. Let’s use this panel to proactively discuss the ideas and needs of our attendees joining us.”

Armed with a journalism background, Kerstin fell in love with Berlin’s startup ecosystem in 2011. Carolin on the other hand is a rare native Berliner who started working in the capital’s startup scene over a decade ago. She met her cofounders several years ago and together they came up with a way to rethink consulting from an entrepreneurial perspective.  

One thing that Kerstin says she enjoys the most about being a founder in Berlin is that the learning never stops and the ecosystem is always moving.

“At every event, in any conversation and with every new gig or collaboration, you can better yourself,” Kerstin said.

If you’d like to attend any of the upcoming #sheinnovates workshops, please register here.

Main photo: Pixabay/Rawpixel