Angela Bates: How to apply & succeed with IBM’s Global Entrepreneurship Program

Girls in Tech met with Angela Bates, the leader of IBM Global Entrepreneur and Startup programmes for the UK and Ireland, to discuss entrepreneurship and tips to successfully apply to IBM Global Entrepreneur and Startup program.

Find out more about the program and meet Angela at Girls Night Out IBM networking event this Thursday October 2nd 2014. The event is organized by IBM in partnership with three major female London tech groups together: TLA London Tech Women, Stemettes and naturally Girls in Tech!

There has been a lot of talk about women leadership recently. What does it mean for you to be a “leader” in your work? 

In my role as leader of the IBM Global Entrepreneur programme, it’s about bringing people together to do new, innovative things. I connect entrepreneurs with investors, startup organisations, clients and other IBM’ers to help build their software solutions and grow their business in partnership with IBM. It’s also important to be visible, deliver on your promises, plan your career and manage your work-life balance.

What do you perceive being the common trait of success from the members in your programme? Can you describe the moment when, after entering the programme, they start maturing and taking off with their business? Is there a common pattern? 

There are a number of criteria I look for in a technology startup, but foremost is they need a really great team. A team that understands their customers and the problem they are trying to solve and how uniquely their solution fixes those problems.They also have partnering in their DNA and actively seek to build an ecosystem around them to keep them on track. We understand that a great team sometimes needs to pivot their business a few times before they become successful, so IBM Global Entrepreneur offers a 3-year technology partnership with tech startups. During this time we explore how integration of IBM technology into the startups’ solution might opens up additional revenue streams for us both.

If you had three good pieces of advice for girls starting a company what would it be? 

Be relentlessly curious and actively seek opportunities to build your ecosystem and take advice.

Embrace change as it allows you to grow the business and help your company stay competitive

Don’t be afraid to fail – successful businesses often pivot several times before making it big

What are your tips to apply successfully to the program?

To apply for the Global Entrepreneur progamme, your business needs to be privately held and less than five years old. It also needs to be actively engaged in or will develop a software-based product or service. Think about how your software solution aligns with IBM growth initiatives, such as cloud, big data, analytics, mobile, social, and security. You should also consider what you are looking for from a technology partnership with IBM.

What are things you have learnt in your career that you wished you had known earlier?

It doesn’t matter how good you in your field, without guidance, advice, or mentorship it’s impossible to reach the top!

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Meet Angela this Thursday 2nd of October at Shoreditch Village Hall for a night of female tech networking to learn more about opportunities for Girls in the London Tech Industry as well as with IBM. Your free ticket here.

UK gets entrepreneurial boost

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc

photo credit: opensourceway via photopin cc

Bleak times no more. Data shows that Britain’s enterprising spirit is stronger than ever.

Many organisations, including StartUp Britain, Rockstar Youth and the government’s own Start Up Loans scheme (read our interview with the creative director) reported a raise in the applications, especially young people between 16-30. In fact, the Prince’s Trust startup helpline received +42% in 2012 alone.

Furthermore, since 2008, UK’s youngest entrepreneurs increased by a third and more than half of the new businesses were founded with less than a grand.

The internet has the potential to make entrepreneurs of us all – Annika Small, Director of Nominet Trust.

The weak economy and lack of job security, prompts more people to bet on themselves rather than seeking opportunities with bigger companies. “If you want the economy to change, we need more people to stand up, be bold and brave and create the jobs that are not there right now,” entrepreneur Kieza De Sousa, 19, told to the BBC.

And it seems that women have responded positively to the call for change. Figures highlight the growing role women are playing.

Women-led businesses annually contribute a whopping £70 billion to the British economy.

In the UK however there is a clear enterprise gap between men and women. Researches indicate that an extra 150,000 businesses would be created if female ownership levels were the same as men.

The UK ranks only sixth out of 17 countries for female entrepreneursa new study has shown, even though a recent report released by Sage UK revealed that half of young women aged 18-24 were keen to start a business, many wanting to break away from the traditional 9 to 5 to pursue their passions.

More women in the boardrooms bring positive change at a wider scale too. Bringing women into businesses creates what Michael Porter and Mark Kramer of the Harvard Business School call “shared value”—it helps companies while helping communities too. 

There is no doubt, that the increasing numbers of women in the economy has helped fuel significant growth everywhere. And economies that are making the shift more effectively and rapidly are dramatically outperforming those that have not. – Hillary Clinton

Feeling inspired yet? If you look for some more motivation, check out our Founder Talks and interviews with the top Girls In Tech. And you if you want to share your journey with us just get in touch on Twitter & Facebook.

More room for marketing mobile products to women

More Room for Marketing Mobile Products to Women

Remember last year’s “Are You Geared Up?” commercial, which pitted two men against each other in a battle for a girl, making the point that the man with the Smartwatch had a better chance of success than the man who’s constantly fumbling around with his cumbersome smartphone? While the advertisement was an obvious attempt at pushing the convenience of a wrist device, it touched on the more obvious “what a girl wants” tropes that drive a large sector of the tech market. It was also a small example of how tech companies are purposely marketing toward women, who are becoming more of a dominant presence in the tech world.

Companies are learning to go with women. The Little Miss Geek blog cites an eDigitalResearch infographic, which shows that “The rise in phone ownership saw an increase in women using them – 58% over 42% of men.” The website She-Conomy says it best: “It’s much easier to market a product your audience wants. And hearing the female voice early rather than later could mean a significant difference in your bottom line.” In a Verizon Wireless article entitled “The New Face of Tech…Is Wearing Mascara,” they used information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report that “the tech industry added 60,000 jobs, and more than half of those positions—60 percent to be exact—went to women.”

So, it makes perfect sense that tech companies are moving in the direction of targeting women with their products. Next month, when Samsung releases its new phone, the Galaxy S5, one of its selling points will be that it’s both dust-proof and waterproof. Some places are already finding ways to spin this feature into something that will attract women. For example, this article entitled “Samsung Designs Waterproof Galaxy S5 for the Shower” implies, in a very obvious and strange way, that the phone will become every woman’s bathroom accessory. The only problem with this is that the waterproof feature was probably added as a protective measure instead of a go-ahead to submerge the phone in water. Now, add the fact that the article in question is accompanied by a photograph of a businesswoman sitting in a portable toilet rather than taking a shower, and you have all of the workings of female-targeted story.

In Samsung’s case, marketing to women might be a great idea following some of the criticism it took last year over a television ad for the S5’s predecessor. Still, the company has been making considerable ground when it comes to reversing consumer’s brand loyalty—especially among women who used to have an allegiance to iPhones. Mobile Marketer reports that “Samsung has slowly been stealing typically brand-loyal iPhone users away as Apple loses some of its edge, which will likely continue into 2014.” It then goes on to identify women as the majority of these “vulnerable” iPhone users.

But however they’re described, there’s no denying that women are the key to growing profits. And as that same Little Miss Geek article points out, “Two 17-year-old girls from Central Foundation Girls’ School in the UK, through Apps for Good, have actually designed a gardening app that impressed private mobile investors.” So, gradually, younger generations of women are making sure that they won’t have to worry about being targeted by marketing. Instead, they’ll be the ones in charge of making and marketing the products.

About our guest blogger: Sara Upton is a newcomer in the world of online journalism. You can find her writing about a number of different topics, but her favorite is tech and how it relates to the advancement of women in the industry.

Woman Techpreneur of the Year Awards: Applications Open!

How-Are-Women-Portrayed-in-the-Tech-Industry

“Techpreneur” is a catchy new term describing the growing popularity of entrepreneurs in the technology sector. Luckily, more women are getting involved in this space, and we believe they deserve to be recognised.

That’s why the University Women’s Club are launching the first annual “Techpreneur of the Year Award” to honour women involved in tech startups and to encourage more women to enter the scene.

“Have you ever dreamt of starting a business, but never quite dared? Most women are totally capable of succeeding and are particularly suited to tech-related startups, which can offer enormous flexibility in terms of where and when you work. Unfortunately, the word ‘tech’ often conjures up images of alien stereotypes: usually male!”
– Fiona Scott Lazareff, judging panel chair

So, who’s eligible? There are 2 categories:

Women who play a definitive role in an existing company which has been trading for less than five years and has a turnover of less than £10m

OR

Women involved in enterprises that have not yet started actively trading.

The commendable panel of judges:

Olivia Solon
Deputy Editor, Wired.co.uk

Elizabeth Varley
Co-Founder and CEO, TechHub

Lucy Tobin
Senior News Feature Writer, Evening Standard

Kayleigh Bateman
Special Projects Editor, Computer Weekly

Sarah Turner
Founder, Angel Academe

Bec Astley Clarke
Founder and Chairman, astleyclarke.com

Victoria Walton
Co-founder and COO, sportpursuit.co.uk

Emma Lloyd
Director, Business Development, BSKYB

Cordelia Meacher
Managing Director, Fieldhouse Associates

Lisa Heneghan
Partner, KPMG

Sonia Powar
Partner, BOOST & Co

Debbie Wosskow
Founder and CEO, lovehomeswap.com

David Hathiramani
Co-founder, asuitthatfits.com

Mandeep Singh
Co-founder, streethub.com

How to apply:

You have until 10th May to submit your applications, with the awards ceremony & dinner being held on 26th June.

There’s about two weeks remaining — check out our UK Tech Women to Watch in 2014 list for inspiration on who should apply!