Dive right in! The water is fine!

If last year’s We Own It Summit in New York was a dip of the toe in to the water to see if it was warm enough, then this year’s Summit in London was a dive in to the deep-end followed by a forceful free-style firmly charging to the finish line in 2020.

The Decade of the Woman Entrepreneur is upon us and the collaboration has firmly embraced the opportunity and the challenge this presents.  The Summit participants have validated that the moment is now to propel women in to the high-growth, innovation economy – as entrepreneurs, investors, and ultimately beneficiaries of the wealth and influence created.

Our next steps have been identified in the goals below. It is now the responsibility of we, the collaborating organizations, to maintain the momentum and deliver on these shared commitments:

In 2011-12, we will:

Create and implement collaboration processes for research and training.

  • The annual research agenda will work to address 1-3 questions annually. This work is critical as the current dearth of data pertaining to women high-growth entrepreneurs is pronounced and does not allow us to measure our progress.
  • The training objectives ensure that women gain exposure to the opportunity of high-growth entrepreneurship, investment, and board participation. The goal this year is to create a shared curriculum – via the many that already exists within the collaboration – that provides access to networks and access to maps to success.

Communicate to the market the stories of successful women entrepreneurs and investors as well as clearly articulate the problem, issues and opportunities.  This year, we will complete and publish:

  • 12 profiles each of female investors & entrepreneurs.
  • A statement of why women’s participation matters for key constituents (LPs, VCs, government, etc.)

Take action that we believe will create real and measurable change in the market.

  • A group, led by successful VCs, angels and LPs, has been created to raise an Astia Innovation Fund to invest in women-founded, women-led, high-growth start-ups.
  • Borrowing from the model used by the Indian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley a decade ago, we will work to get women to invest in women (as well as the men who love women entrepreneurs), thereby owning the solution for ourselves.
  • Where we have influence as industry leaders, LPs, Fund of Funds, family offices, VC firms, government funding agencies, etc. we will work to get women in to decision-making bodies.

The nearly 200 thought-leaders who participated in this year’s Summit have identified the above goals for the coming year as the deliverables that will lead us to the success in 2020.

And for those new to this race, the finish line has been mapped. Through this Summit and this collaboration – and any other means available to us – we will:

  • Increase number of women investors.
  • Increase number of women high growth entrepreneurs.
  • Increase likelihood of success of these businesses.
  • Get more women on public and private boards.

Come on – dive right in. The water is lovely!

Sharon Vosmek, CEO

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Ask the Community: What Excites You Most About This Year’s Summit?

The Women’s Organisation is delighted to collaborate on the shared agenda of facilitating increased levels of female enterprise growth. The Women’s Organisation currently works to bring together internationally distinguished academics, entrepreneurs, policy makers and practitioners in the field of female entrepreneurship start and growth together and fully support the summit’s objectives as it provides an unparalleled opportunity to exchange and utilise the combined expertise and knowledge of experts.

In particular, we hope that WOIS will provide:

  • an international context for the development of female enterprise growth
  • world class input and specialist knowledge relating to, female entrepreneurship support and research  priorities , best practice, governance, strategy and sustainability
  • access to rigorous academic research
  • an unrivalled forum for the exchange of research ideas and practice  entrepreneurial needs
  • an opportunity to connect evidence to policy development

Maggie O’ Carroll – Chief Executive Officer, The Women’s Organisation

About The Women’s Organisation


Follow The Women’s Orgnisation on Twitter @TheWomensOrg

The Women’s Organisation is the largest women’s economic development agency in the UK. Our outlook is international. We promote and facilitate female business start up, innovation and sustainable business growth. We enable women to achieve success and greater prosperity, to become leaders and to connect with each other.

We fulfil the role of advocate for women’s interests across a whole spectrum of areas, and are both a creator and a disseminator of knowledge. We influence policy and perception at all levels and bring together and represent the communities of interests common to women.

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Ask the Community: What Excites You Most About This Year’s Summit?

I am excited about the potential afforded by collecting smart people together to consider one of the most pressing wealth creation challenges of today.  There is a huge opportunity that arises from pooling expertise, knowledge and information and distilling the collective wisdom into clear actions that inform our next steps. I look forward to showcasing the talent of the organisers and the attendees that are meeting with the ambition of changing the world of opportunity for everyone, and welcoming them to London.

Rowan Gardner – Chairman, BioLauncher

Follow Rowan on Twitter @rowan_uk

About Biolauncher


Everyone at BioLauncher has a passion for life science and the potential benefits that science can bring to all of our lives. We also understand that these benefits can only be realized when scientific innovation leads to successful commercial products.

Biolauncher’s principals all have operational experience of starting their own venture backed businesses, growing them and expanding overseas. Our advice is rooted in real world experience. We work with leading universities and entrepreneurs to help establish new companies, and help growing companies source suppliers or develop commercial and marketing strategies. We have also acted as local partners to help customers to establish UK operations by seeking premises, negotiating lease agreements, procuring equipment, acting as interim management and recruiting staff.

We tailor each project to the needs of the client company and are able to work in advisory, planning and/or interim management capacities, depending on the scale and scope of the project.

We derive immense satisfaction from guiding our clients through the process of bringing technologies to market and understanding what it takes to make that happen.

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Ask the Community: What Excites You Most About This Year’s Summit?

I am excited to see so many people participating in the movement to encourage women high growth entrepreneurs and women investors.  As a result of our participation in the WOIS this year, Capital Perception has worked with strategic partners in the Dallas area (a traditionally underserved market) to provide a networking and support forum specifically for women C-level executives at high growth companies and women investors; we will launch this fall!

As a woman serial entrepreneur, it is a personal passion to ensure that investors and high-growth companies successfully meet their financial, organizations, operational, and personal goals.  This led to the establishment of Capital Perception in 2001 and the growth of our firm to serve clients around the world.  The opportunity to work with Astia and the WOIS is an extraordinary opportunity for us to participate with other organizations around a common-goal and share our knowledge and experience with the group.  Through our participation as a planning organization, we have had the chance to professionally collaborate with other noted experts in the field to design a summit that would be dynamic, informative, and action-oriented.  This collaboration is the start of further joint efforts as Capital Perception and its strategic partners launch the women’s high growth forum (name to be decided in early June).  This forum will provide an opportunity for women to network (with the requisite wine and cheese instead of golf rounds!) and will present information to accelerate the growth of their businesses.  The research and expertise available through WOIS will have a practical application for those who attend the summit, and those who are unable to attend, but are part of this larger movement to grow the number of successful women-led high growth businesses and women investors.

We hope that everyone who attends and who is following this forum finds a way to contribute to this movement.  Whether additional university groups are established as part of our youth initiative or other collaborative forums are held that further the aims of the WOIS.  We also are excited for the potential of those who are participating in the WOIS to find ways in which they can support each other.

Miya B. Nazzaro-GramppManaging Director, Capital Perception

About Capital Perception


Since 2001, Capital Perception has helped its investor clients manage corporate investments through acquisition or strategic private equity investment and our company clients to prepare for a major transaction.  Our consultants work with a target portfolio company to:

  • Identify and mitigate organizational and operational risks and liabilities prior to the transaction
  • Decrease the time required to complete a transaction through efficient processes and self-diligence
  • Increase the ROI of the transaction

Our team has completed over 80 acquisitions and 100 private equity financing transactions, illustrated by the following examples:

  • Dolby acquired a technology company for $60 million
  • Cisco acquired a software company for $400 million
  • Home healthcare client acquired by competition for $175 million
  • Software company private equity investment returned a 12X ROI within 1½ years

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Ask the Community: What Excites You Most About This Year’s Summit?

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is looking forward to the 2011 We Own It Summit and we hope you are too!  We are excited to lead a panel discussion about the myths and realities concerning high-growth women entrepreneurs. This year’s Summit is particularity exciting because it creates a global discussion. Bringing the Summit to London, and engaging a larger international audience, will no doubt engage broader, more relevant, and in-depth perspectives.

We’re also thrilled to support a collaborative approach focused on encouraging more women to start high-growth companies.  At NCWIT we believe these types of coalitions are the best approach to creating change. No organization can do it alone. We commend Astia and Kauffman for taking the reins and leading this effort.

At NCWIT we are committed to increasing the number of women participating in computing and IT throughout the entire spectrum, from K-12 and higher education through industry, academic, and entrepreneurial careers. NCWIT works to encourage more women to become founders of high-growth companies, and to help technical startups recruit and retain more women, right from the start. NCWIT recently has pledged its commitment by joining other organizations and the U.S. government in the Startup America Partnership. Find out more about NCWIT by visiting http://www.ncwit.org.

Baat Enosh – Entrepreneur Alliance Manager, NCWIT

About the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)


Twitter: @_NCWIT

NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology. We are a coalition of over 250 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase the participation of girls and women in computing and IT. NCWIT is a 501(c)(3)*, established in 2004. We believe that inspiring more women to choose careers in IT is a compelling issue of innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. In a global economy, gender diversity in IT means a larger and more competitive workforce; in a world dependent on innovation, it means the ability to design technology that is as broad and creative as the people it serves.

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Ask the Community: What Excites You Most About This Year’s Summit?

The We Own It Summit event signifies not only an opportunity to re-connect with colleagues who are inspired by a similar mission, but it serves as a platform to review our thinking and methodologies, assess our collective achievements to date and to discuss our individual organizations aspirations for the year.  Springworks is predicated on the notion that innovation is best served through the diversity of thought.  While our current interpretation of this theory is based around under-targeted domestic US demographics (women and minorities), we acknowledge that this definition is applicable across geographies.  With that in mind, we are eager to exchange ideas with our international colleagues who will be participating in the 2011 London-based Summit.  We look forward to celebrating the shared success of the growth of We Own It as not just an event, but a collective movement.

Jorge M. Calderon – Founder and architect of Springworks

About Springworks


Twitter: @_springworks

Springworks is a mission based venture incubator that provides promising entrepreneurs a community and resource that will prepare them for raising capital and/or strategic organic growth. We are the first venture incubator focused on promoting the growth, inclusion and development of a diverse workforce within the venture community. Based at the heart of innovation, San Francisco, we provide our portfolio companies with a variety of services that will help them meet their leadership and company goals. Our program is customized to address the stage and needs of each invited organization.

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Cherie Blair to Speak at London Summit

We Own It Summit aims to break down barriers for women in high-growth entrepreneurship

LONDON, UK 5 April 2011. Cherie Blair has agreed to present the keynote speech at this year’s We Own It Summit, taking place on 9 – 10 June at Imperial College, London.

Organised by Astia and supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the We Own It Summit creates a venue for entrepreneurs, investors, academia, government, media, non-profit and industry organizations to discuss their aims, identify opportunities to collaborate and build alliances, share research and findings, and create a shared-policy agenda.  Internationally renowned panelists will explore the opportunities and challenges for women entrepreneurs – in particular within high-growth markets such as high technology, life science, clean technology and high-growth consumer brands.

The Summit’s agenda is designed to create a common understanding and drive towards actionable goals. Each of the Summit conversations consist of a panel followed by a corresponding facilitated workshop, addressing the myths, money, motivations, metrics and solutions for women’s participation in high-growth entrepreneurship.  Topics to be discussed include: “Turning the Corner – the New Age of the High Growth Firm Woman Entrepreneur”; “Myths vs. Realities of Women High Growth Entrepreneurs”; “Diversity Promotes Innovation in High Growth Entrepreneurship”; and “Social Entrepreneurship, Can We Own It?”.

The 2010 We Own It Summit was highly successful with over 180 attendees and several working committees formed to follow through on the goals set during the Summit.

The invitation-only Summit seeks to drive collaboration and energize the global discussion about the part women can play in high-growth entrepreneurship in the second decade of this century.

Cherie Blair said, “I am a firm believer in the power of women entrepreneurs, so when I heard about Astia’s summit, I was more than happy to lend my support.  Women are too often overlooked as business leaders.  If we want to successfully tackle the challenges the world faces today, we need to include women in the equation.”

Sharon Vosmek, CEO, Astia, said, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Cherie Blair to this year’s We Own It Summit.  Mrs. Blair is a hugely successful career woman, being one of the UK’s leading barristers – as well as having launched the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; having been a Prime Minister’s wife; and a mother of four. Mrs Blair is an inspirational example of a high achiever.  We very much hope that the event will prove insightful and result in a unified effort towards improving women’s participation in high-growth entrepreneurship.”

To find out more about this year’s We Own It Summit

Email: Cordelia Meacher, Cordelia@if-communications.com

Website: www.weownitsummit.org

Twitter: @weownitsummit

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Astia is a global not-for-profit organization with a distinct focus and mission – to propel women’s full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth. Guided by a proven philosophy that gender diversity is an essential element of innovation, Astia works with start-ups around the world as they access capital, grow their businesses, and hone the leadership skills of their founding teams.  The Astia model of engaging a community of experts to the benefit of the select start-ups it serves has resulted in an exceptional success rate: since 2003, 60 percent of companies that have participated in the Astia Investor Forums have secured funding or achieved an exit within one year of presenting, totaling more than half a billion dollars raised and 21 exits, including two IPOs.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Astia delivers programs for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, New York, London and India.  For more information, visit www.astia.org.

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We Own It’s Women in Scalable Entrepreneurship (WISE) University Chapter Program Summary

The WISE University Chapter Program is based on the shared mission and vision of the participating organizations of the We Own It collaboration. Through generational linking, We Own It’s WISE Chapters will extend the reach of our advocacy and support for women’s leadership in high-growth entrepreneurship. Each future chapter will be provided with a loose framework to help foster the eagerness, excitement and capability of the next generation of women entrepreneurs. Ultimately, each chapter will execute their customized chapter charters in a way that best suits and represents the uniqueness of their University.

In April, Sarah Friedman and Genevieve Wang from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley founded the first WISE Chapter: WISE@Haas. While the pilot chapter resides within the Haas structure, they will be inclusive of fellow students across academic programs and areas of studies within Berkeley. The activities they have proposed include meaningful opportunities for current University students to learn and interact with successful entrepreneurs. Their chapter will also include events in support of high school aged students interested in high-growth entrepreneurship.

We are hopeful to have several additional chapters submit charters before or during the summer, but we realize that with the school year waning, the majority of new chapters will submit in the Fall.

Should you have any questions, or if you have interest in being involved in the working group and committees that lead the WISE University Chapter Program, please contact Jorge Calderon.

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Kauffman Foundation State of Entrepreneurship Address Info

For those interested and able to watch/listen, the following is the URL for the State of Entrep. Address:


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Congratulations to Astia

Congratulations to Sharon and her team for being founding stewards of the Startup America Partnership. I am encouraged to see that the White House officials and the leading foundations recognize the importance of including and inspiring high-growth focused women entrepreneurs. I look forward to hearing and seeing the results of this initiative.


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