This past weekend, I had the opportunity to invest in a crowd-funding campaign for Bella Minds – whose mission is quite simple – “Bringing Tech Education to ALL Women”. There is lots of press these days on the lack of women in STEM… so rather than just read/write about the problem, this was an opportunity to participate in an actual solution; yes do something!
Bella Minds had set a goal to raise $25,000 to fund their first pilot program of educating 25 women set to launch in the Spring of 2014 in Alliance, Nebraska. When I made the decision to invest in this endeavor, the project was 2 days away from the funding end date and a few thousand short of the goal. As soon as I funded this fabulous project at the Investor Circle level, I immediately turned to Twitter to shout this out to all of my connections. I was able to follow, in real time, the success of the funding campaign and was very excited when the funding level crossed the $25,000 goal.
As of this post, Bella Minds has raised over $28,000 (exceeding their goal!) from 270 backers.
Why a crowd-funding campaign?
Crowd-funding enables an organization to leverage the power of their social networks to reach out to an ever expanding group of potential contributors.
The campaign was run on the crowd-funding platform – Plum Alley – the brain child of Deb Jackson , a former investment banker turned tech entrepreneur. Now in terms of full disclosure, Deb is a friend, a colleague and a true “kick-ass” woman igniting the tech scene in NYC! In Deb’s own words, the mission of Plum Alley can be seen in the following quote:
“I founded Plum Alley for women to create products, build companies and enhance their esteem and wealth. We offer 3 things: a way for women to raise money for projects, hire experts to help them and provide a way to sell their products with an emphasis on their story.”
There are many “crowd-funding” platforms available, but Plum Alley is the only one I am aware of that has a focus on empowering women in their entrepreneurial endeavors.
My hope is that organizations like Bella Minds and Plum Alley will help to ensure that the answer to the question – Where are the women in tech?
THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!