An Entrepreneurship Guide for Women in Technology Fields
Although there have been significant gains in terms of women’s representation in the tech industry over the past few decades, there is still a long way to go. One significant way that women can make a larger impact in the tech industry is by seeking entrepreneurship in various fields related to technology.
On one hand, entrepreneurship is challenging in any industry, let alone one you have been historically excluded from. On the other hand, entrepreneurship and control of your own business can help women overcome and avoid hurdles related to historical bias in the field. Understanding how to approach entrepreneurship efforts and knowledge of available resources for women entrepreneurs is invaluable information for women interested in pursuing a career in technology.
Statistics About Women in Tech
As mentioned, we still have a long way to go in terms of developing women’s representation in the technology industry, despite slow gains. Some relevant statistics that illustrate this point include:
- One study predicted that female representation in large global technology firms would average at 33% in 2022 based on existing trends.
- As stated in the previous source, in 2020 women in STEM made an average of $15,000 less than men in STEM annually. Meanwhile, Black and Latina women in STEM make an average of $33,000 less than men in STEM annually.
Generally speaking, however, women’s presence in the technology industry is consistently rising over time.
Barriers for Women in Tech
Barriers for women who are in the tech industry or interested in joining the tech industry, include:
- Gender bias: Some professionals within the tech industry may still hold biases against women in the industry.
- Glass ceilings: Women may face a variety of barriers when it comes to promotion within the industry or the ability to acquire leadership positions.
- Wage gaps: On average, men make more money than women in the technology industry, resulting in fewer resources at women’s disposal.
- Limited networking opportunities: Women may be excluded from social situations related to business due to biases. Additionally, they may feel that many of these situations are not safe or respectful to them.
- Lack of mentors: Potential mentors may hold biases against women or have ulterior motives.
- Lack of role models: Historically, women have been underrepresented in the technology industry. As such, women may feel alienated in the space or lack inspiration for how to break into the industry and succeed.
These barriers may vary widely between different niches, areas, and companies.
Steps for Founding Your Own Tech Company
Founding a tech company requires the right equipment and knowledge. A tech company will commonly need everything from computers to more specialized components. It is also important not to forget to consider smaller pieces of equipment such as SMA wires and SMA connectors, as well as various LMR-400 cables, waveguide to coaxial adapters and coaxial adapters.
Beyond equipment, here are the basic steps that you will need to take to start your own tech company:
- Do market research. Before you start your company, you should be aware of important trends in the industry, especially those that pertain to your particular niche.
- Choose your business structure. To start a company, you need to choose a business structure. The most common types of business structures include sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, C corporations, and S corporations. Which structure will be best for you will depend on your specific business and its goals, and therefore it is important to do your research carefully.
- Register your company. Once you have chosen your business structure and name, you will need to register your company with the relevant state agency for your location.
- Acquire funding. You will need capital to start your business. Estimate what your startup costs will consist of and what options are available to you in terms of funding. Common options include loans, grants, and crowdfunding.
- Get any necessary licenses or permits. Ensure that you are aware of any further licenses or permits that you may need for your startup. These likely will only be needed if your project will involve new construction or if your products or services exist within a federally regulated industry.
- Learn how to manage your business taxes. You will need to prepare your business taxes separately from your personal taxes. As such, it is important to document your incoming and outgoing expenses, and be aware of what type of tax form you will need to file. It will also be helpful to learn about tax deductions or tax breaks that may be helpful to you.
It may also be helpful to enlist the help of relevant professionals, such as financial advisors or accountants.
How To Prepare Yourself for Tech Entrepreneurship
The following steps can help you prepare yourself for success as a tech entrepreneur:
- Complete a program. Depending on your niche in the industry, you may need a relevant degree.
- Keep your skills up to date. In the tech industry, valuable skills can evolve quickly, and therefore it is important that you are staying in the loop and brushing up on your skills as necessary.
- Join relevant communities. Various clubs, organizations, and online groups can help you learn skills, find opportunities, and gain advice. Communities related to entrepreneurship, your niche within the tech industry, or even tech or business at large may be helpful.
- Follow relevant publications. By following or subscribing to publications related to entrepreneurship or tech, you can keep up with helpful trends and information.
- Find a mentor. A mentor can give you insider information and even set you up with valuable connections within the industry.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the steps you will benefit most from will depend on your specific niche and business goals.
Choosing Your Niche
Choosing the right niche is a vital step in developing a successful tech startup. The following questions can help you determine what niche will be best for you:
- What are your major goals?
- Will your location affect your success?
- What niche is profitable?
- Is the niche projected to continue to be profitable in the long term?
- How saturated is the niche?
- What will the startup costs look like?
- How long will it take to turn a profit?
- Will you need to hire any other professionals?
- Are there any regulations to consider?
- Who are the notable names in your industry?
- What is something new you can bring to the table?
- Who is your ideal clientele?
It is also advisable to test-run your idea before fully committing to a business plan.
How To Accrue Necessary Resources
You will need capital to start and maintain your business, as well as a plan for acquiring the necessary resources to succeed. The following steps can be beneficial for this purpose:
- Estimate your startup costs. This will include costs such as incorporation fees and insurance.
- Estimate your operating expenses. This will include expenses such as rent and direct materials costs.
- Determine what space you will need. Determining how much and what type of space you will need will allow you to more accurately estimate your rent and property taxes. It is also important to consider your ideal location.
- Determine what your options for funding are. There are many different options for funding, such as grants, loans, and crowdfunding. Some of these options will require you to apply, and therefore it is important to ensure that you meet the listed requirements.
- Build up your credit score. To acquire a business loan and get a good rate, you will need to make sure that your credit score is in good shape.
Some organizations even offer resources specific to narrow demographics such as female entrepreneurs or women in tech.
Resources for Female Veterans
The following resources can benefit female veterans in the tech industry:
- Boots to Business Reboot: Boots to Business Reboot: These classes help veterans learn business fundamentals and evaluate business concepts.
- Veteran Entrepreneur Portal: This is a tool published by the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans who are interested in entrepreneurship.
Resources for Female Members of Minority Groups
The following resources can benefit female members of minority groups in the tech industry:
- AfroTech: This organization spotlights the achievements of Black-owned technology companies and pairs these companies with partners and resources.
- Black Girl Ventures (BGV): This organization helps Black and Brown women find access points to capital and networking opportunities to develop startups.
- Unshackled Ventures: This organization supports immigrants who are trying to start a business, regardless of immigration status.
Additional Resources for Women in Tech
The following are further resources that can benefit women in the tech industry:
- Grants.gov: This is an updated list of grants sponsored by the federal government.
- IFundWomen (IFW): This is a funding platform for female entrepreneurs, which connects them with opportunities for crowdfunding and small-business grants.
- The PASS Program: This program allows Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to set aside assets for the sake of specific business goals without losing their benefits.