It is a wild political time in the U.S. with the election, in England with the Brexit, and frankly in the rest of the world.... But you know what? I am optimistic, because the world is about to be run by women entrepreneurs. There's a lot that's been done by and for women and girls, and now we know what more we can do.
This was one of many takeaways from The United States of Women Conference (USOW) that I attended in Washington, DC. 5,000 women leaders screaming POTUS' name. I felt like it was a Justin Bieber concert! USOW brought together some of the most incredible women in the world to launch the #StateofWomen movement to tackle pay equity, workplace leadership, and the right of women to take charge of their own bodies. I invite you take the pledge here, along with me and First Lady, Michelle Obama; Tory Burch, designer and philanthropist; Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; Megan Smith, CTO of the United States; and actress Kerry Washington. Together we can make a difference.
How? By keeping the conversation going, informing world leaders through data, and championing policies that help women in business scale. This week at the White House's Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University, more than 700 entrepreneurs, 200 investors, and 100 world leaders came together to discuss these issues, with women and youth being a main focus. The 2016 Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index (WE Cities) was a springboard to these discussions, highlighting the unique challenges that women entrepreneurs face when trying to scale their businesses. But with every challenge an opportunity presents itself.
Our WE Cities Index measures a city's ability to attract and support high potential women entrepreneurs--those companies that have the potential to create the 600 million jobs we need in the next decade. By looking at city level, we're able to assess the impact of local policies. We looked at their capital, technology, talent, culture and market characteristics and graded them based on how well a woman could start and grow her business there.
Of the 25 global metropolitan areas we evaluated, there were some interesting insights to consider:
- New York City ranked No. 1 over Silicon Valley, which we believe is due to the male dominated tech fields in Silicon Valley and illustrates the need for the public and private sector to increase STEM education for girls.
- Toronto, Paris and Sydney are cities to watch. While they aren't traditionally considered hotbeds for entrepreneurship, all three have women-friendly policies that make it easier to continuing running a business after having a child.
- It's also interesting to note that the highest ranked city scored 59/100, showing there's a lot of room for improvement.
And that's the purpose behind our research. It's great to know where a city ranks, but our intent is to give policymakers and city leaders access to our findings so they can address weaknesses and build on strengths.
This week marks the seventh Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Annual Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, where we will keep this conversation moving and enlist the power of our global network to get involved. It's time for women to be politically engaged to ensure the right ecosystems are in place for them to scale. If politicians and entrepreneurs partner, dynamic policies can be put in place in order to close the circle and enhance the process from idea to enterprise.
Jump in and help women entrepreneurs run the world!!!! (Run it in heels, I might add.)