A note from our editor, Elizabeth MacBride:

Welcome to this week’s newsletter, which is celebrating International Women’s Month. I’ve included some of our best new and old stories about women in business.

The question of how to help more women move into positions of leadership is occupying my mind this week, especially because I have just finished the Ad Astra Ventures Bootcamp.

It was a worthwhile six days. I made my first semi-official investor pitch to a carefully chosen small group of mentor-investors. I’m not sure how much money I’ll raise for Times of E, but I wanted to understand better my own strengths as they related to the process of raising money.

I was nervous about it until I remembered the times in my life when I have REALLY felt nervous, like my first day as a managing editor in New York City, my first solo reporting trip to Amman, Jordan, and bringing my oldest daughter home from the hospital. The only thing I knew how to do was pick out a yellow onesie, so Lillie wouldn’t start soaking up pink gender norms.

After I remembered those times, I was much less nervous about pitching. (I was not supposed to reveal that the pitch was my first one, so please don’t share my woeful lack of experience on this front).

The hardest thing about being a woman business leader is that there is no roadmap. That’s why many accelerators and incubators are a waste of time, or even detrimental for women. Because American culture has had so few women leaders, we haven’t yet figured out what makes for one.

Lacking a guidebook, leadership programs fall back on the rules and research for men, which not only don’t work, but can backfire on women. The wise women who run Ad Astra have figured this out, so the bootcamp is designed to help each woman identify a style of leadership that works for her.

Here’s my own simple example of what it feels like to travel an untraveled path. Our image of male leaders includes height. If you’re a short man, you know this and you find ways to adapt. But is a woman leader tall or short? Or somehow – medium-sized? Do you try to make yourself as tall as man, as tall as the nearest woman leader, or do you wear flats and cause most men in the room to develop a crick in their necks as they bend down to listen to you? (That’s usually what I do. So sorry!).

The trick for women business leaders is to confidently establish our own effective norm, of one, and support other people in establishing theirs.

The only attribute that’s absolutely required is courage. Luckily, life gives all of us plenty of chances to practice that.

Times of Entrepreneurship
Stories of the Week

A STEM Woman Needs A Stylish Steel Toe

An immigrant entrepreneur, Anastasia Kraft, founded Xena Workwear to take on the “shrink it and pink it” problem.

Read the Story »

The Top Angel For Diverse Entrepreneurs Offers A No-Holds-Barred View On How Women Differ

Shed your fear, and embrace the good news: Women do grow into their CEO roles, says Gotham Girl, Joanne Wilson.

Read the Story »

Non-competes Disproportionately Keep Women From Starting Businesses: Report

A Cornell University professor found — perhaps no surprise — that companies with the highest potential were blocked. The reason? The report speculates women are more risk-averse than men, and less likely to challenge a pervious employer by going ahead.

Read the Story »

A Selection of Times of E’s VC Spotlights On Women Investors:

A Top Angel Investor Turns To Venture, With A Lens Focused On Women.
Read the Story »

Arboretum Stands Out As A Two-Decade-Old Women-Led Venture Firm
Read the Story »

Chingona Ventures Lands One of 8 PayPal Investments For Its Overlooked Thesis
Read the Story »

Two Women Launch A $10M Fund For Sustainable Apparel, With Eileen Fisher’s Help
Read the Story »

Times of E’s New Builders Stories

The Emotional Reality Of What Women Entrepreneurs Face Every Day (Video).
Watch the Video »

GEM Report Uncovers A Possible Ambition Gap Among Women Entrepreneurs Globally
Read the Story »

Op-Ed: The Real Reason Women Entrepreneurs Struggle To Raise Funding
Read the Story »

Susan Sarandon Takes Up Women’s Entrepreneurship  Read the Story »

$10B Barrels Toward State Programs for Entrepreneurs. But Who Will Benefit?
Read the Story »

Living the dream 

Best Practices: If you’re making the case for investing in women, here are three articles that you might useful, sent by Ad Astra Venture’s Courtney Burnett.

Female founders’ companies out-performed their male peers’ by 63% in terms of creating value for investors. (Forbes reporting on First Round)

Women-led private tech companies see 35% more in ROI and and 12% increases in revenue with 33% less capital. (From Kauffman Fellows)

Investors in companies with strong gender diversity strategies receive excess returns running at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3 .5 percent (From the IFC).

Buzzworthy: Remember Reading Lolita in Tehran? Azar Nafisi’s new book, Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Fiction in Troubled Times, reflects on writers including Plato, Toni Morrison, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Atwood and Elias Khouri. Nafisi argues that confronting the absolutist mindset requires engaging with the enemy through literature. She speaks tomorrow night (Thursday) at a virtual event at Washington, D.C.’s Solid State Books. Register here. The Publisher’s Weekly starred review quoted her: “Fiction subverts the absolutist mindset by defending the right of every individual to exercise their independence of mind and of heart.”


The 4.5 hour workweek: A productivity hack

One well-documented difference between men and women is that women tend to follow the rules more; they’re socialized to do so. In fact, that may be the real reason for the difference in the way men and women apply for jobs: women apply when they’re 100% qualified; men apply when they’re 60% qualified. One study suggests that it’s no so much about confidence as it is about women believing the one-paper rules of the hiring process: as if companies actually hired based on qualifications. So try this for a hack: When you find yourself stuck in a perfectionist mindset, over-preparing for a meeting or building up your qualifications toward a goal, invest your time instead in researching (ie asking people who know) what the decision factors actually are.

Wanderlust : a restaurant or activity from our Top Ecosystems list

For Haitian cuisine, try Naomi’s Garden, celebrated in such media as Dining on a Dime. The food’s great, with the goat stew often mentioned as a standout. Vegan Haitian dishes are also available, with everything served en volume. And, it’s a beautiful story of a family-owned business.


This box of goods from women-owned companies that have participated in the Ad Astra Ventures Bootcamp is a $175 value for $70. Included: 

  • Collagen Mud Mask (2oz) or Collagen Coffee Scrub (7.05oz), Blush & Rose Gold Cosmetic Bag – Collagen For Her, Kaitlyn Rackens
  • Grape Nectar Sugar Alternative, 6.3oz – Domain Santé, Emily Josenhans
  • Shower Mist, 2oz – Freedom Deodorant, Ira Green
  • Holiday Gift Label, 1″ Button – Greentop Gifts,  Jacquelyn Rodgers
  • Refresh & Rejuvenate Feminine Self Care Kit – 3.4 oz Daily Probiotic Cleanser & 1 oz Daily Rejuvenating Oil – Lady Suite, Therese Clark
  • Instantly Better Coffee In A Brew Bag, Box of 10 – Nostalgia Coffee Roaster, Taylor Fields
  • Stainless Steel Cocktail Jigger – Standard Spoon, Rachel Eva
  • Brilliant Black Organic Charcoal Toothpaste, 2oz – Terra & Co,  Azra Hajdarevic

Upcoming Opportunities 

To list an opportunity in our newsletter, check out our rates here. We cover the emerging economy of diverse founders:


1. A Course To Reach the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

In this free course developed by entrepreneurship professor John Lynn, professors and other entrepreneurship educators get a curriculum and supporting materials based on the influential book, The New Builders.

 Date: N/A
 Location: N/A
Link: https://docsend.com/view/s/4gah7gde5yrguz8j

2. Bursary Benefits Available for AI Week 2022

Amii has announced plans to award $100,000 in talent bursaries to empower AI technical professionals to attend AI Week 2022. Apply now to have your travel expenses covered – awards are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

 Date: May 24-27, 2022
 Location: Edmonton, AB
Link: https://www.ai-week.ca/talent-bursaries

3. Comcast Accepting Applications for Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator

Open to global startups in connectivity, media, and entertainment, Comcast is now accepting applications for the fifth class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator. Comcast writes that they are “looking to mentor and invest in startups developing world-class technologies and products in the program’s core focus areas: Connected Living; Immersive and Inclusive Experiences; and Smart, Sustainable Enterprise.”

 Application Deadline: May 11, 2022
 Location: Philadelphia, PA
 Link: https://lift.comcast.com/accelerator

4. Render Launches Second Iteration of Reconstruct Challenge worth $750,000

Render has announced a new partnership with Access Ventures to award a second national prize focusing on addressing barriers to employment in the United States. Five winning innovations will receive $100,000 each, with one innovation receiving an additional $250,000 to scale further. The challenge is open to anyone in the United States as long as the beta test of the innovation takes place in Jefferson County, KY, or Floyd and Clark County, IN. 

 Registration Deadline: April 29, 2022
 Application Deadline: May 27, 2022
 Location: N/A
 Link: https://www.reconstructchallenge.com/initiatives/employment


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This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

A business journalist for 20 years, am the founder of Times of Entrepreneurship and the co-author of The New Builders.