Chicago is the world capital of female-founded startups

World Today

Chicago is the world capital of female-founded startups2

Starting up a business is never easy, and founding a technology startup as a woman is particularly challenging.

A recent report indicates that, worldwide, only 20 percent of all startups are launched by a woman. But there is one U.S. city that handily beats that average.

CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reports.

A recent report by Compass, a provider of reporting and benchmarking software, found that 30 percent of Chicago’s startup founders are women, beating out Boston and San Francisco.

Nicole Yeary, founder of Ms. Tech, credits the support the city gives to would-be female entrepreneurs. Like the new mentoring program she’s now co-facilitating as part of Chicago’s famous incubator 1871, called WiSTEM – or Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Elena Valentine is one of the 13 women founders selected for the 16-week program. Her company, Skill Scout, aims to revamp the traditional hiring process by making videos of job postings companies want to fill. She says WiSTEM helped her demystify the intimidating and male-dominated world of investment.

“There is something about the shared experience of being on that side of the table and this side of the table that get that. Because I can guarantee that the woman on the other side of the table worked her butt off to get there,” Valentine said.

Studies show fewer than 3 percent of venture-backed startups are female founded.

Chicago is currently home to more than ten so-called unicorns – startups worth over $1 billion. The hope is the trend will continue with many more startups being founded by women.