In a groundbreaking move towards bridging the investment gap for women entrepreneurs, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc., has unveiled its inaugural AWS Women’s Demo Week. This week-long global event, slated from November 6 to 10, 2023, promises to be a pivotal moment for women-led startups worldwide, aiming to connect them directly with investors in 18 cities across five continents.
Fueled by a passion to rectify the disproportionate funding landscape faced by women entrepreneurs, AWS Women’s Demo Week will host pitching events for women-led startups. With the active support of esteemed startup organizations like Ajim Capital, Founderland, GrindstoneXL, and Mogul Millennial, the initiative is set to empower female founders by providing them with a platform to present their innovative ventures to potential investors, partners, and customers.
The need for this initiative is underscored by alarming statistics. In 2020, only a paltry 2.3% of global venture capital funding was allocated to women-only founded startups. Shockingly, Black and Latino women received less than 1% each, underlining a stark disparity that has persisted and worsened. Recent data from Pitchbook shows that in 2022, VC funding for all-women founding teams in the U.S. stood at a mere 2.1%. These figures paint a concerning picture of the hurdles faced by women entrepreneurs, particularly those belonging to marginalized communities.
Kathryn Van Nuys, Global Head of Specialized Startup Segments at AWS, voiced the shared sentiment, stating, “With a tighter capital market, women-led startups have faced a significant decline in venture funding. We want to ignite a movement to showcase the grit and ingenuity of these founders and help them get in front of investors during AWS Women’s Demo Week.” This initiative seeks to challenge existing biases and demonstrate that women-led startups are not just valuable but essential contributors to the entrepreneurial landscape.
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One inspiring success story comes from Sharon Obuobi, CEO and Founder of Alt/Finance. She attested to the transformative impact of AWS’s support, saying, “Having a leading organization such as AWS advocate for us as woman founders is an invaluable business resource and also a significant confidence boost.” Obuobi’s experience highlights the doors that AWS Women’s Demo Week can open for deserving startups, potentially transforming their trajectories.
Eunice Ajim, Founding Partner at Ajim Capital, expressed enthusiasm about the initiative’s potential impact on African entrepreneurs, noting, “AWS Women’s Demo Week is incredibly timely, as we are seeing the funding gap for women entrepreneurs widen in Africa. We are excited to highlight groundbreaking women founders from Africa on the global stage and support them in unlocking access to capital and connection with international investors.”
Additionally, Brittani Hunter, CEO and Founder of Mogul Millennial, emphasized the pivotal role of the event for Black women entrepreneurs, stating, “By showcasing the excellence and innovation Black women bring to the table, we can help shatter biases and forge a more equitable path forward.”
During AWS Women’s Demo Week, select startups will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas directly to investors. AWS, in collaboration with partner organizations, will facilitate invaluable connections, enabling entrepreneurs to engage with potential customers and partners at in-person networking events. The impact of this initiative extends further, with participant startups receiving $10,000 in AWS Activate credits, access to AWS technical experts, and integration into the URF startup community.
In this era of digital connectivity, AWS Women’s Demo Week transcends geographical boundaries, encompassing cities across North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. From bustling metropolises like New York, San Francisco, and London to vibrant hubs including São Paulo and Cape Town, the initiative aims to create a global community of empowered women entrepreneurs.
For those interested in participating or attending these events, detailed information is available at the official website: AWS Women’s Demo Week.