American-based nonprofit organization Women Who Tech is combatting the gender gap in the technology sector by launching the “Women Startup Challenge Emerging Tech”, a pitch competition for early-stage technology startups with women leaders. With a $50,000 cash grant for the winning company, the Startup Challenge is open for applications until December 19th from women-led startups in Agriculture Tech, Energy, Virtual Reality, Biotech, Transportation, Space and Robotics, IoT, Blockchain, and Augmented Reality.
The ‘Emerging Tech’ competition is the latest in the Women Startup Challenge series, with previous competitions showcasing innovative startups led by women, of which 40% belonged to women of color. These startups were supported with over $1,000,000 in prizes and cash. The competition’s success extends beyond cash prize money with alumni companies moving forward in a range of areas, closing deals with seven figure rounds, partnering with Snap and Amazon, or being accepted into competitive accelerators such as Techstars.
Women Who Tech founder Allyson Kapin talked about the focus of the latest Women Startup Challenge in a press release, saying, “Emerging tech is a trillion+ dollar industry. As the world around us becomes more automated, we need diverse perspectives building and launching products. This innovation is changing the nature of business, society and government. It is important that the people driving this change are as representative of our society as possible; our future literally depends on it.”
At its core the challenge is about drawing attention to the inequalities and gender bias within venture capital funding, and fighting it by providing female-led startups with the resources they need to further their ideas, and the platform to connect with investors and tech company leaders.
The Women Startup Challenge will take place at Google’s New York Campus in March 2018 where 10 finalists will pitch their emerging tech ventures before a panel of prominent investors.