Countdown to the new year and the Women In Cloud 2020 Summit

As we wind down 2019, we can’t help but think of all the things we have to be thankful for this past year. Although we still have a lot of work to do in order to see gender equality in the tech industry, we’ve also accomplished a lot of things this past year. 

  • We’ve grown our WIC active network to over 1500 members, more than double where we were one year ago and, as a result, we’ve tripled our audience during this time. 
  • We launched the online WIC Network community to give members an exclusive space to communicate, network, share ideas and help each other through mutual generosity. 
  • We build an Advisor Network comprised of industry executives and subject matter experts.
  • Our Accelerator impact generated $50M in pipeline opportunities and $6M in investments.
  • We’ve expanded the Cloud Accelerator into 8 countries: Canada, UK, France, Germany, India, Kenya, the US and Dubai.
  • We now have 60+ major companies directly participating in the community. 
  • And we’ve garnered major media coverage for WIC on Microsoft, GeekWire, TechNative and more. 

And as we move into 2020, we know we can accomplish amazing things. We’re going to continue launching our community in new countries and territories, add new programs like Executive Dinners and Innovation Hacks, continue to evolve our community into a true Generosity Network, and much more.

We kick off the year with our annual summit, and this year’s promises to be extra special. We’ve added a number of amazing new experiences that not only accelerate growth for women-led technology businesses, but also inspire, connect and harness the amazing power of the community to help solve other major problems we’re facing across the globe. 

Here are our top 5 reasons why you can’t miss out on the 2020 summit:

  1. Learn from relevant industry leaders: there are so many amazing speakers at the summit this year including critically acclaimed performer and author Patti Dobrowolski, and corporate vice president for Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner business, Gavriella Schuster, and many others. You’ll wish you could listen to all of them!
  2. Change the world and yourself in the process#AISolutions2030 Innovation Hub: Women In Cloud and IdeaGen have partnered together with industry leaders and policy makers to further the 2030 UN global goals through AI-based solutions by launching the #AISolutions2030 Innovation Hub. Leveraging the UN Knowledge Repository, WIC will be bringing some of the sharpest tech and business minds together in one place for a greater purpose, and promises to produce strategic AI solutions directed at solving the UN’s SDG goals.
  3. See up-and-coming women entrepreneurs and women-led business emerging into the spotlight first hand through the #CloudInnovateHER Pitch Challenge: women-led companies developing an enterprise-ready cloud solution that’s earned less than $10M in the past 12 months qualify to enter the pitch challenge. Four finalists will have an opportunity to deliver their pitch during WIC Summit 2020. The winner will be selected at the pitch competition and will receive a prize.
  4. Join in on scintillating conversation with industry leaders at the #CloudExecConnect Executive Roundtables: an intimate group eating together and inspiring through meaningful dialogue around one topic. Each table conversation is facilitated by an industry executive, and you can pick the topic that interests you most. 
  5. Multiple opportunities to network: in addition to the #CloudExecConnect Executive Roundtables, there’s also Collective Action Lounge, as well as the #CloudCommunityConnect: Community Roundtables that are community lead roundtables similar to the executive roundtables. With over 1500 attendees, there are bound to be a number of influencers you can get connected to. 

There are several more reasons to attend, so be sure to register today!

Also, there are other ways to get involved if you’re interested:

Women in Cloud launches inaugural #CloudInnovateHER Pitch Challenge

Women in Cloud (WiC), the organization responsible for working with global leaders and policymakers to help women entrepreneurs create economic opportunity, is looking for the next revolutionary innovation in tech-based enterprise solutions. 

We are launching the inaugural #CloudInnovateHER Pitch Challenge on Nov 4, 2019, with the goal of helping women tech entrepreneurs across global market develop, showcase and win enterprise customers. As demands in enterprise tech grow, the need for products and services that address these unique challenges increases. The #CloudInnovateHER Challenge provides that platform. 

Enterprise tech is one of the fastest growing and most influential sectors of the tech industry with enterprise software spending expected to reach $457 billion this year, but the numbers indicate that women are largely being left out of that economic opportunity. [Gartner] Although women founders continue to deliver outsized returns, data demonstrates that they still receive less than 3% of all VC funding, and women-founded companies catering to audiences beyond female consumers receive 54% less funding on average. Plus, there are disproportionately fewer women founding startups that serve enterprise, with only 2% of female entrepreneurs founding B2B companies, compared to 12% of men.

That’s why we at Women in Cloud are generating new ways for women tech entrepreneurs to get better access to funding, education, and a supporting community. 

“We are excited to bring this opportunity to women-owned tech businesses and help them find commercial success by showcasing their enterprise-ready cloud solutions,” says Chaitra Vedullapalli, President of Women in Cloud.  “Here’s a chance for startups and companies to compete on a global scale for a share of $10,000 in cash and access to Cloud Accelerator.” 

This experience is sponsored by industry leaders like Microsoft, Meylah and others, who are also core supporters of expanding enterprise business opportunities to more women entrepreneurs. If indications from the Boston’s Consulting Group’s are correct, then if women entrepreneurs received funding on par with their male colleagues, some estimates indicate that the global economy could experience a $5 trillion boost. Beyond the importance of gender parity, that influx into the global economy would be an incredible lift. 

Be recognized as an up-and-coming leader in the enterprise cloud space, and compete for the top prize of $10,000 to contribute to your business growth.

Qualifying is easy. Women-led companies developing an enterprise-ready cloud solution that’s earned less than $10 million in the past 12 months qualify to enter. Enter your business pitch or encourage others who qualify to enter. 

Solutions will be evaluated for originality, market feasibility, and use of cloud and AI solutions.

Bring us your best pitch. Enter today

Who should apply?

  • Ready: Companies that are developing and/or developed an enterprise-ready cloud solution and looking to expand their customer market
  • Set: US registered companies that already have a business plan and are pitch-ready with a commercially viable enterprise-ready cloud solution
  • Change: Companies offering a cloud tech solution that solves enterprise related challenges

Why apply?

  • Exposure to cloud market leaders and their channel partners
  • Access to go-to-market benefits and cloud accelerator
  • Global industry recognition as an innovative enterprise-ready cloud solution
  • Recognition to maintain your company’s competitive edge

What are the competition timelines?

  • Submission: The competition starts at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) on Nov 04th, 2019 and ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on Dec 24th, 2019
  • Selection: Finalists will be notified by Jan 6th, 2019, and provided with instructions for next steps
  • Pitch Competition: Four finalists will have an opportunity to deliver their pitch during WIC Summit 2020, Jan 25th, 2020. The winner will be selected at the pitch competition and will receive a prize.

Note: Finalists will be awarded free registration to the Women In Cloud Summit 2020 registration, but will need to arrange and pay for their own travel and expenses related to attending the event. Submissions that aren’t selected will still receive a 15% discount to the event. In addition to having an opportunity to pitch your solution, you’ll have access to top companies and industry leaders from Microsoft, Ingram, SAP, and many more, who will present valuable sessions and invaluable resources throughout the day.

Selection Criteria

  • 50% – Originality of idea which solves real customer need/business problem in the enterprise market
  • 20% – Strong market opportunity & potential revenue stream
  • 30% – Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is core to the solution

Judges

Judges for the competition include well-known leaders in the enterprise cloud industry with a proven track record of success and provide key influence to the industry at large. Regardless of the outcome, all entrants will benefit from exposure to these influencers. 

Ready to create change for the global good? Apply now

Read the full terms and conditions for more details. 

For more information visit https://www.womenincloud.com/cloudinnovateher/ or contact community@womenincloud.com

 

Why Cloud Knowledge Needs to be Turned into Action

In recent times, cloud computing has become a commodity to organizations all over the world. Most companies use cloud computing in one form or another because of the efficiency it offers. However, most companies have yet to recognize and unleash the full potential of the cloud.   

A new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit and IBM found that among 572 business leaders surveyed, almost three-fourths indicate their companies have piloted, adopted or substantially implemented cloud in their organizations yet, only 38% cite cloud as a leading priority for the entire company. Rather, cloud is still viewed by many as an IT solution, with 62% citing cloud as a leading priority for their IT organizations. (Forbes

While cost-cutting is a crucial reason for the growth of cloud computing, there are other usages cloud plays in the disruptive innovation of the IT sector. Hence, it is extremely important for companies today not just to incorporate cloud computing but acquire knowledge about the technology to utilize its fullest potential. 

Today, most companies use cloud technology for file storage or backup or as a means for disaster recovery; the basic mundane use of cloud, which kick-started the growth of the cloud industry. However, plenty of other options like Online Marketplaces, Ecosystem Connectivity, Artificial Intelligence, Large-scale market adaptability, and scalability remains largely unexplored by various small and mid-level businesses simply due to lack of knowledge and the ability to turn knowledge into action. 

That being said, it would not be completely true to believe that cloud knowledge isn’t being put to action. Cloud Hyperscalers like Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Amazon not only display cloud innovations in their products but they also offer software to businesses that echo their needs. The knowledge and resources these organizations possess about the cloud are immense, and hence it becomes inevitable that the profitable numbers are kept aside and this piece technology is used for the greater good of the society. 

Women in Cloud recognizes the importance of empowering businesses through technology for a better society. With Microsoft and IBM leaders on board, the community offers cloud tech support to businesses led by women like Stylyze Inc, a B2B Retail SaaS platform to enhance product catalog that curates like a personalized stylist and RightSciences, a B2B SaaS platform to develop plant-based patch formulation for hyper-personalized medicine delivery.

Knowledge is an asset in the tech-driven world we are a part of today. While knowledge is available all around us, the power to tap into the knowledge and channel it into action lies with few.

There are various ways knowledge can be converted into collective action. Women in Cloud particularly focuses on making an impact in the following ways;

  • Providing and supporting access to customers, funding, and resources
  • Accelerating businesses through policy resources and readiness 
  • Striving to create and spread innovative solutions, partnerships and communities

 Hence, knowledge management and information dissemination become vital for sustainable growth.

Cloud computing is a technological innovation that can be used for improving lives in society. An estimate suggests that Cloud will provide the digital infrastructure of tomorrow’s cities, where an estimated 6 billion of the world’s population will live by 2045. 

It is safe to say that in the near future, Cloud computing is going to be a bigger part of our lives than it already is. Therefore, it is important to not just acquire knowledge about cloud computing to all types of businesses but to utilize technology for a better technologically-enabled society should be the goal. 

With that thought, stay tuned for the next blog about how to make powerful alliances to further your business or personal goals.

 

Clearing The Path For Female Entrepreneurs By Gavriella Schuster

I look forward to joining the Women in Cloud community on Saturday, Jan 26th, where female entrepreneurs from many facets of the tech industry are coming together to invest in themselves, to recharge their energy, and be inspired by a community of like-minded women leaders, sponsors, and allies.

The data is clear, female technology entrepreneurs are outnumbered and underfunded and we need that to change.

What can enterprise leaders do to help? Here are  five ideas:

  1. Investigate – Look for places within your supply chain where women-led suppliers are under-represented.  Examine your application process for requirements that may not be inclusive.
  2. Analyze and Take Action – Measure the mix of women in your tech communities and create practices and norms that encourage women to feel welcomed, valued and involved.
  3. Seek Broad Support – Look for support from across your company’s communities. The women in your organization should not be the only ones to bear the burden of driving the fixes we need. Get everyone involved, and set-up women in the company to be strategic advisors and mentors.
  4. Share the Voice of Women – Ensure the female perspective is shared in your feedback systems and deliberately reach-out to women-led communities to include their point of view.
  5. Go Beyond – Sharing advice and mentoring women in your organization is important. But for greater impact, create true pathways for women business decision makers to take active steps toward engagement with your organization and business opportunities.

I can’t wait to speak with all of you who are attending the Women in Cloud Summit. I’m excited to hear your stories, learn from your journey, and get ideas about how we can make things better together.  I’ll be joined by other industry leaders who share my passion and energy for helping female entrepreneurs step into the cloud opportunity.

If you haven’t yet registered for the event, here’s the link to reserve your spot.  Tell your friends, colleagues, leaders, investors, communities.  Let’s take the time to make this investment in ourselves together.

 

#WomenInCloud #SheSoars

Credit: Gavriella Schuster

The Importance of Woman-Centered Spaces By Toni Colman

 My grandmother always said the biggest business deals were made on the golf course. When I looked around at the majority-male 2016 WTIA Golf Tournament, her words reverberated in my mind. How many women were missing out on forming valuable industry connections that day? Later, WTIA – the non-profit I work for as Director of Member Relations – received feedback from people who echoed my concerns. The desire to see women participate in the tournament was there, but it wasn’t actually translating to the golf course even though, at least technically, all genders were welcome at the event. It was clear that despite the great strides women have made in the professional sphere since my grandmother first began forming her observation, the imbalance I was witnessing wasn’t going to fix itself. It would take intentional, strategic action.

 I decided to form the tournament’s first women-only training group and team. I rounded up eight members and we met up once a week for six weeks and learned how to play golf. We drank beer, ate snacks, and worked on our skills in a pressure-free environment. Once the tournament rolled around, however, we were hit with a dose of reality. One man asked a teammate what hole she was working at, assuming she wasn’t there to play in the tournament; another asked a woman if she could connect him to one of the partners at her company, not considering the fact the woman herself might be a partner (she was). Someone else expressed frustration at us for going the wrong way on the lawn, and other men gave us unsolicited coaching advice. For better or for worse, we weren’t exactly surprised by these uncomfortable interactions. After all, changing people’s biases doesn’t happen overnight. The all-women team members agreed that it was a beneficial learning experience overall, and wanted to continue making male-dominated spaces more woman-centered.

 

To that end, I next put together a women’s poker tournament. Poker is another activity typically coded as masculine, which means few women learn it and those who do can be averse to playing it since they’ll likely be playing with men. (Fact: Significantly more women play poker online than in-person, probably for this reason.) The interest in the event was staggering—75 women ended up participating. The turnout reaffirmed my belief that many women were interested in doing traditionally “manly” things, as long as intentional spaces were created for them to feel comfortable in. Being the only woman on the golf course or at the poker table can be a daunting experience, and those spaces will remain male-dominated if we are only relying on women to brave such spaces independently.

These experiences have opened my eyes to exactly what it will take to challenge the ubiquity of professional, male-dominated spaces. I’m taking all I’ve learned to my company so we can use it to best empower women in tech. WTIA is committed to creating intentional, professional spaces for women where networking and growth can flourish without being stifled by the pervading cultural norms that discourage women from full participation and therefore maintain the gender imbalance. If you care about doing this work with us, contact me at toni@washingtontechnology.org and tell me how you want to shake things up or come see me at the Women in Cloud Summit on January 26th to build your network and expand your tribe!

Credit: This article was written by Toni Colman, Director of Member Relations, Washington Technology Industry Association