Women have great potential to become the startup leaders and founders of tomorrow. This is the reason why the WIDE (Women in Digital Empowerment) association launched its Startup Leadership program to better support women who are entrepreneurs in the digital industry and other new technology industries.
(Featured Image: Yuriko Backes (European Commission), Marie-Adélaïde Gervis (WIDE) and Marina Andrieu (WIDE) / Image Credit: Annabelle Buffart)
This year, WIDE intends to identify and support 10 women who are in the process of creating a startup. The association and its partners are looking for promising ideas and, above all, a great motivation to embark on an incredible entrepreneurial journey. “Creators from all walks of life are welcome,” said Marie-Adélaïde Gervis, Chairwoman and Co-Founder of WIDE, during the press conference organized at the House of Europe in the city-center of Luxembourg.
“WIDE has been active for more than 3 years, empowering women in digital. Our goal is to increase the number of women seizing the opportunities in the digital economy and society, and to contribute to building a more diverse workforce and a wider ICT talent pipeline for Luxembourg. Our priorities are digital skills, education, entrepreneurship and networking. We are offering practical support and activities during events throughout the year with the support of Digital Lëtzebuerg and the Ministry of Equal Opportunities,” explained Gervis.
We are currently looking for 10 women, but we already know we could support many more in the future, as many women in our network have shown a great interest to join our Startup Leadership program. The aim is to incorporate the first startups in 2018.
A pool of experienced sponsors and advisors
As a symbol, the launch event was co-organized with the representation of the European Commission in Luxembourg. WIDE’s board had the privilege of Mrs. Yuriko Backes’ presence, which showed that the initiative was strongly supported by the highest authorities. “The European commission supports women in areas such as education, entrepreneurship, research and innovation through its programs. It is through organizations like WIDE that European values and projects can be implemented locally and encourage new female talents,” said the Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Luxembourg. This program will activate an important pool of new and innovative startups with positive repercussions for the economy and employment. The pool of advisors would make most entrepreneurs jealous. To name a few, Genna Elvin (TaDaweb), Laurent Kratz (Scorechain), Nadia Manzari (CSSF), Marie-Hélène Massard (AXA), Evan Schwartz (Ripple) and Dr. Virginie Simon (MyScienceWork) have all signed on to support the participants. It should be noted that parity is respected for the range of advisors; there are 10 women and 10 men.
The program is also supported by the Ministry of Economy and partners in the private sector. WIDE’s team has also built a strong network of private and experienced sponsors and partners as well as advisors from the local startup ecosystem to help the selected entrepreneurs succeed. The Ministry of Economy, BIL, Finimmo and Agile Partners are the main sponsors of the initiative, and House of Entrepreneurship, Paul Wurth InCub, LHoFT, Amazon Activate, Microsoft BizSpark and Silicon Luxembourg (!) have also joined the range of partners.
Unleashing the talent of women to become tech and digital entrepreneurs
WIDE offers networking opportunities, personalized support, access to a pool of advisors and technical coaching. “We are not an incubator or an accelerator. We want to guide the women towards the right people in order to help them turn their idea into a business,” affirmed Marina Andrieu, WIDE’s Director and Program Leader. To join the program, WIDE’s team is looking for women who have an idea for a digital or tech product and are willing to take their business idea a step further. Women from all backgrounds will be selected during the summer, and the program will start in September. “We expect to see more women joining the existing programs, initiatives and incubators in Luxembourg and up to 100 women involved in our activities,” said Andrieu. “We are currently looking for 10 women, but we already know we could support many more in the future, as many women in our network have shown a great interest to join our Startup Leadership program. The aim is to incorporate the first startups in 2018,” she concluded.