41 Reporters Covering Women in Entrepreneurship You Should Follow on Twitter

At the Case Foundation, we work hard to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs—particularly women and people of color. While the gaps in funding are stark and the movement has a long way to go, we have seen some positive signs. For example, 2018 featured gains in venture capital funding for women-led startups and digitalundivided’s Project Diane reported the doubling of black female lead startups in America.  Already in 2019, we’ve seen an uptick in the headlines focusing on the challenges and opportunities women face in business and an increased focus on the importance of supporting entrepreneurs from all backgrounds and places. Most recently, we’ve seen the launch of CNote’s Wisdom Fund, focused on delivering capital access and lending to low- to moderate-income female business owners.

The coverage female entrepreneurs receive is integral to expanding their impact and getting notice. Therefore, as we wrap up Women’s History Month, we thought it fitting to highlight some of the journalists who are changing the way we view entrepreneurship and who are bringing these fearless women’s stories to light.

These journalists are sharing the stories of women entrepreneurs and paving the way for the future, and we think they are worth a follow on Twitter for that alone:

  • Kristen Bellstrom@kayelbee – Fortune – @FortuneMagazine deputy digital editor, mistress of The Broadsheet, and purveyor/consumer of baked goods.
  • Ellen McGirt@ellmcgirt – Fortune – I cover race and culture @fortunemagazine.
  • Diana Ransom@dianaransom – Inc. – Features editor at Inc.com
  • Jenna Wortham@jennydeluxe – New York Times – Black Bill Gates in the making. Staff writer @NYTMag & co-host of Still Processing
  • Emily Chang@emilychangtv – Bloomberg – Mom. Wife. Host of Bloomberg Technology & Studio 1.0. Author of new book Brotopia on women in tech.
  • Nina Zipkin@NinaZipkin – Entrepreneur – Staff Writer at @Entrepreneur. Covering leadership, culture, business & tech.
  • Funto Omojola@funtomojola – Moneyish – reporter @dowjones’ @moneyish
  • Amy Guttman@AmyGuttman1 – Forbes – Journalist & speaker/moderator. Forbes, BBC, PBS Newshour & others. Current affairs, entrepreneurs & ecosystems
  • Claire Zillman@clairezillman – Fortune – Editing (news), reporting (workplace, women in biz) and newsletter writing (The Broadsheet) @fortunemagazine. London, by way of NYC, @NewhouseSU and Chicago.
  • Lydia Belanger@LydiaBelanger – Fortune – Production Editor @FortuneMagazine. Previously @WIRED and @Entrepreneur. Searching for through lines.
  • Anna Meyer@annavmeyer – Fast Company – Editorial Assistant at @FastCompany // @KUJournalism alum.
  • Maria Aspan@mariaaspan – Inc. – Finance, tech, gender, pop culture. Editor at large @Inc. Author of Lady Business newsletter.
  • Guadalupe Gonzalez@mariainnyc – Inc. – Staff reporter @Inc covering Amazon, immigration, trade, Europe and NY startups.
  • Zoe Henry@ZoeLaHenry – Inc. – Journalist and PhD candidate studying 20th C women writers. Words in @Inc, @Slate, @HuffPost, etc. Proud cat mama and Brown alumna.
  • Yasmin Gagne@YasminGagne – Fast Company – Currently @FastCompany (formerly @inc @VanityFair @SKDKnick @qz@nytimes and @columbiaspec). Fast talker, slow dancer.
  • Eilene Zimmerman@eilenez – New York Times – Mother, journalist and social work grad student. Living the questions. Looking for answers. Writing a book.
  • Connie Loizos@Cookie – TechCrunch – silicon valley editor @techcrunch, founder @strictlyvc, sometimes cohost of the “equity” podcast, panini press enthusiast always.
  • Megan Rose Dickey@meganrosedickey – TechCrunch – Senior reporter @TechCrunch Co-host of TC Mixtape
  • Selena Hill@MsSelenaHill – Black Enterprise – Digital Editor at @BlackEnterprise | Journalist | Founder of @BeHeard_Radio| Contributing TV Reporter for @WhatsEatingHarl
  • Kate Clark@KateClarkTweets – TechCrunch – Writing about startups & VC for @TechCrunch | Co-host of Equity | Author of a weekly newsletter on startups
  • Julia Horowitz@juliakhorowitz – CNN Money – @CNNBusiness reporter covering banking and China-US business issues.
  • Lisa Lockwood@LisaLockwood1 – WWD – I am the News Director of WWD and report on fashion, designers and the sportswear business.
  • Ruchika Tulshyan@rtulshyan – Forbes and Harvard Business Journal – Equitable workplaces @ http://CandourGlobal.com · @seattleu in-Residence · @Seawomenscomm · @thinkers50 Radar 2019 · @harvardbiz @Forbes @seattletimes · Hungry
  • Breanna Edwards@Edwards_Bre – Essence – Editor for News, Politics and Issues @Essence. @TheRoot and @AU_SOCalum. RYT. Animation nerd. Voracious reader. Soca does gi’ me meh powers.
  • Susan Price@SPCharis – Forbes – I write about women making a difference.
  • Jillian Kramer@jilliankramer – Glamour – Award-winning journalist. Read my work in @foodandwine, @TravelLeisure, @SELFmagazine, @EatingWell, etc.
  • Susan Adams@susanadamsnyc – Forbes – Old media hand swimming with the new tides
  • Lisa Rabasca Roepe@lisarab – Fast Company – Former newspaper reporter turned freelance writer #Binder #ASJA @ForbesContributor @FastCompany@TheCoveyClub @Ozy @TheAVClub@TheWeek @ReadOctober
  • Kimberly Weisul@weisul – Inc. – Professional explainer. Editor-at-Large, @inc. Optimist, amateur naturalist, darn good cook. Addicted to fresh air and natural light
  • Yuliya Chernova@ychernova – Wall Street Journal – Reporter @WSJ & @WSJVC. Startups, VC, tech beat. Living it up in Brooklyn, the immigrant parts.
  • Beth Kowitt@bethkowitt – Fortune – Senior Editor at @FortuneMagazine
  • Julia Boorstin@JBoorstin – CNBC – Media Reporter. Journalist
  • Leah Fessler@LeahFessler – Quartz – reporter @qz covering gender, work, relationships | side-eye enthusiast | formerly @ bridgewater | lfessler@qz.com | how we’ll win creator
  • Kayden Field@haydenfield – Entrepreneur – Journalist covering tech, business & investigative features @Entrepreneur. Also into high-fives, hiking and HP.
  • Sequoia Blodgett@SequoiaB – Black Enterprise – At the intersection of #Entrepreneurship, #Tech and #Media | Founder of @commastheseries | Producer, Editor, Host @BlackEnterprise | Contributor, Fortune
  • Veronica Dagher@VeronicaDagher – Wall Street Journal – Author: @WSJ’s Resilience: How 20 Ambitious Women Used Obstacles To Fuel Their Success; Secrets of Wealthy Women #podcast host; personal fi reporter; guest
  • Emma Hinchliffe@_emmahinchliffe – Fortune Magazine – Associate editor, @FortuneMagazine, @FortuneMPW. Before: @mashable, @HoustonChron, @georgetown
  • Stephanie Mehta@stephaniemehta – Fast Company – Editor-in-chief at Fast Company
  • Colleen L. McKeegan@cmleahey – Marie Claire – Senior Editor, @MarieClaire. Previously @BloombergLIVE @FortuneMPW@FortuneMagazine. #HoyaSaxa

Interested in more stories of female founders? Take a look at the Case Foundation’s #FacesofFounders campaign, which seeks to change the narrative of who is and can be an entrepreneur. By showcasing women-led businesses, as the journalists in this list have, we can inspire others to follow in their footsteps and create startups of their own, as well as breakdown the stereotypes that hold under-represented entrepreneurs back.

2019 Inclusive Entrepreneurship Conferences on Our Radar

Jet across any part of the country and you’ll come across a host of conferences designed to ignite the inclusive entrepreneurship movement. At the Case Foundation, we’ve crisscrossed the nation to attend and speak at a number of these events—from SXSW to Urban Tech Connect and Fortune Most Powerful Women—to learn new ways to build the social, financial and inspirational capital needed to support diverse entrepreneurs.

As we look towards the new year, the team has assembled a list of the preeminent conferences across the globe that are designed for diverse founders, ecosystem builders and startup champions who are seeking to collaborate and build the relationships needed to drive meaningful change for inclusive entrepreneurship. We are certain that you’ll find something for every stage of your business as you work to accelerate brands.

  1. Blacktech Week, February 5-9, 2019, Miami, Florida: BlackTech Weekend connects entrepreneurs, tech professionals, educators and creatives to the resources they need to be competitive in the innovation economy. Together they explore the ins and outs of life as techies, entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders.
  2. Watermark Conference for Women, February 21, 2019, Silicon Valley: This year’s Watermark Conference will unite more than 100 speakers and 6,500 women from across the globe in search of inspiration, motivation, networking, personal and professional development, and community. Jean Case is slated to take the stage, as well as activist Gloria Steinem, champion and investor Serena Williams, educator Brené Brown, Sequoia Capital’s Jess Lee, and founder and CEO of MM.LaFleur Sarah LaFleur.
  3. Lesbians Who Tech, February 28, 2019-March 2nd, Silicon Valley: This is one of the largest LGBTQ professional events in the world, focusing on increasing the visibility of women, LGBTQ women and LGBTQ women of color in tech, demographics that are underrepresented in the tech sector.
  4. SXSW Interactive, March 8-12, 2019, Austin, Texas: While the Case Foundation is gearing up for a big SXSW announcement, you can check out a few sessions led by our team in the meantime. On March 9th, Jean Case will host a Be Fearless Book Talk. Also be sure to add to your calendar two sessions on March 12th: one moderated by yours truly featuring Veronica Dagher of the Wall Street Journal, Jean Ellen Cowgill from Bloomberg’s TicToc and Catherine Clifford of CNBC on How to Tell Your Startup Story, and a second Case Foundation led session on The Overlooked Future of US Entrepreneurs: Latinx featuring Dyan Gibbens from Trumball Unmanned, Marcos Gonzalez from Vamos Ventures and C’pher Graham from Seed Spot. Stay tuned for our annual SXSW Sessions to Watch Blog coming soon.
  5. HBCU@SXSW, March 8-11, 2019, Austin, Texas: Since 2015, HBCU@SXSW has exposed high-potential technical and non-technical students of color to programming and opportunities within inclusive entrepreneurship. Last year, more than 100 students from 41 colleges and universities attended SXSW. Check out the USAToday feature on the experience that unites students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). Apply to attend HBCU@SXSW HERE.
  6. Women in the World, April 10-12, 2019, New York City: Going on its tenth year, the event convenes powerful women leaders, blazing activists and courageous movers and shakers who will move you with their provocative first-person storytelling and change your worldview. Previous speakers have included Nobel Peace Laureate & Liberian Peace Activist Leymah Gbowee, Co-Anchor of CBS This Morning Norah O’Donnell, Award-Winning Actress and Activist Viola Davis, Sally Yates and founder of TaskRabbit, Leah Busque.
  7. Black is Tech Conference, April 12-13, 2019, New York City: This conference creates a platform for Black and minority tech professionals, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts to connect. With an expected attendance of over 1,000, the Black is Tech Conference will provide a platform that creates more inclusion of people of color in startups and the technology sector. Speakers will include executives from Harlem Capital, LISNR, First Round Capital, 500 Startups, Citibank and more.
  8. Women of Silicon Valley, May 2-3, 2019, San Francisco: This conference invites you to join more than 1,500 tech leaders and professionals from the hottest startups to learn from industry pioneers. You’ll experience inspirational keynotes, panel discussions on business strategy, technical classes, and career development workshops. Speakers include executives from Slack, Salesforce, Accenture, PepsiCo, Microsoft, IBM and Coursera.
  9. Urban Tech Connect, May 16, 2019, Los Angeles: Last year, the Case Foundation’s Sarah Koch took the stage at Urban Tech Connect in an interview with Mayor Eric Garcetti. (Watch that interview HERE.) The conference is designed to support and provide networks for startup founders of color. Last year’s speakers included Keith Coleman from the Tesla Foundation, Brian Martinez from Airbnb, Derek Smith from Plug In South LA and Natalie Bruss from Fifth Wall Ventures.
  10. Summit 21, June 7-8, 2019, Atlanta, GA: Summit 21 is a carefully curated gathering that will assemble the most influential black women of this generation from across the country to learn and grow together. This 2-day experience is designed to give women entrepreneurs, creators, and influencers the opportunity to hone their visions and gain valuable insights to achieving their goals. Through engaging masterclasses and fireside chats, Summit 21 provides hands-on experience with the brightest and most inspiring leaders across sectors. Speakers included actress, producer and screenwriter Lena Waithe, Myleik Teele of CurlBox, Lilly Workneh of Blavity, and investor Monique Woodard.
  11. Forbes Women’s Summit, June 17-18, 2019, New York, NY: This conference celebrates the women who are making a change while inspiring,  connecting and empowering women around the world. Featuring keynote conversations, panel discussions, one-on-one interviews and interstitial spotlights, the Summit brings together the voices and insights of a diverse range of female luminaries from the worlds of business, entertainment and politics. Speakers include leaders from Nest, Audi, Pipeline Angels, SAP and more.
  12. Code2040 Summit, July 27-28, 2019, San Francisco, CA: Attendees will experience two days of deep, enlightening programming that will equip you to play an active role in the inclusive entrepreneurship movement. Whether you are a startup founder, a college student breaking into computer science or the head of diversity and inclusion at a major tech company, Code 2040 wants to empower you.
  13. Essence Festival, July 4-7, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana: Connect with some of the most successful power players in the country for interactive exchanges designed to help you take your career or business to the next level. Essence offers attendees front row seats as CEOs, business owners and flourishing entrepreneurs from across multiple industries share inspiring stories and tips for how you can follow in their footsteps.
  14. BlogHer Summit, 2019 Date TBD, Location TBD: Each year, more than 2,000 social media influencers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, activists and all-around amazing women head to the BlogHer summit. Past speakers have included Uzo Aduba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Arianna Huffington, Chelsea Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Serena Williams, Carla Hall, Soledad O’Brien, Ava DuVernay, Kerry Washington and President Barack Obama, so you’re guaranteed an amazing 2019 lineup!
  15. National Urban League, July 24-27, 2019  Indianapolis, Indiana: The National Urban League Conference is the largest annual civil rights conference that kicks off with the State of the Urban League by NUL president Marc Morial. It attracts thousands of the nation’s most influential community leaders, policymakers, startup and small business leaders, and media for four days of dialogue, networking and entertainment. The gathering also features the Small Business Matters Entrepreneurship One-Day Summit and Young Professionals L.E.A.D. (Leaders. Entrepreneurs. Advocates. Dreamers.) Summit.
  16. Female Founders Conference, multiple dates, multiple locations: Last year, three events took place throughout the country featuring combinator partners, alumni, and other female entrepreneurs and investors. Speakers included Christina Cacioppo of Vanta, Jess Lee from Sequoia Capital, Holly Liu of Kabay and Ashley Wong of Gemnote.
  17. Rural Rise Summit, September 16-19, Pine Bluff, AR: The second annual Rural Rise Summit will bring together community leaders and rural ecosystem builders. Over three days, they will work to answer the question, “How do we empower the leaders, doers and innovators in rural communities?” Rural Rise also hosts monthly action session calls to learn more about the successes and learnings from communities across the country.
  18. National Black MBA Association, September 24-28, 2019, Houston, TX: The 40th Annual convening unites their members, corporate and university partners and some of the world’s most sought after thought leaders. More than 10,000 professionals attend each year for sessions on “Big Data: Algorithms vs. Human Analysis”, “The First 90 Days: Making Your Mark as An Executive”, and “Motivating and Retaining Generation Z”. Also check out events like the Scale-Up Pitch Challenge sponsored by FedEx, “Meet the Experts” expo stage featuring representatives from Microsoft, Nationwide, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.  
  19. Black Wall Street Homecoming, September 2019, Location TBD: This is an annual networking conference for early-stage entrepreneurs, focused on the intersection of content, connections and culture. Celebrate and learn from diverse, multicultural entrepreneurs, their investors and the community that supports them. Speakers have included executives like Arlan Hamilton from Backstage Capital, JaNay Queen Nazaire of Living Cities, McKeever Conwell of TEDCO and Torrence Reed from HBCU Wall Street.
  20. Project NorthStar Conference, October 2019, Location TBD: This three-day tech conference provides connections, education and opportunities for current or aspiring entrepreneurs of color. If you are currently building a tech startup or aspiring to build one, this is for you. Organized by Black & Brown Founders (BBF), in partnership with the City of Philadelphia the conference works to establish a framework that helps people with modest resources create a path to economic security.
  21. Grace Hopper Celebration, October 2-4, 2019, Orlando, FL: This is the largest gathering of women technologists in the world. It seeks to inspire and educate women in tech and connect them with companies that view technological innovation as imperative. Last year’s speakers included Sherrell Dorsey of ThePLUG, Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures, Stephen Green of WeWork, Brigitte Daniel of Wilco Electronic Systems, Aniyia Williams of Black & Brown Founders and Karla Monterroso of Code2040.
  22. A3C Festival & Conference, October 2019, Location TBD: At this conference, thousands of artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and industry veterans from around the world will hear from more than 200 speakers who focus on topics ranging from civil rights, brand activism, mental health, building a movement, entrepreneurship, health and wellness.
  23. Black Enterprises TechConneXt, October 2019, Location TBD: This is not just another tech conference, it’s an opportunity to engage, empower, and recruit tech talent of color. More than 500 tech professionals gather to hear from speakers like Morgan DeBaun of Blavity, Melinda Briana Epler from Backstage Capital, Nancy Douyon from Uber and Damien Hooper-Campbell of eBay.
  24. Fortune Most Powerful Women, October 21-23, 2019, Washington, D.C.: Fortune Most Powerful Women has evolved into a convening of the best women in business, along with select leaders in government, philanthropy, education and the arts. Speakers and attendees come from companies like Ariel Investments, The Home Depot, The World Bank, Bumble, OpenTable, the New York Stock Exchange, Microsoft, Airbnb and Instagram.
  25. Blavity Afrotech, November 7-10, 2019, Oakland, California: You’ll join more than 3,000 engineers, designers, and business leaders for groundbreaking content that includes a 360-degree look at how culture and tech run the world.
  26. MogulCon, November 2019, Location TBD: MogulCon unites industry influencers, startup founders and female business owners to share their knowledge on how to create more powerful female entrepreneurs. MogulCon 2019 is about providing attendees with the resources that will help them build a sustainable strategy and accelerate the growth of themselves and their business. From master classes to fireside chats, every experience at MogulCon is focused on molding attendees to think, act, and be a MOGUL.
  27. Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen, Fall/Winter 2019, Location TBD: The annual Next Gen summit will gather a stellar group of game-changing executives, entrepreneurs and innovators in business, along with leaders in government, philanthropy, education and the arts for a wide-ranging conversation. You’ll join speakers and attendees like Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss, Nextdoor Co-founder Sarah Leary, Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Connie Chan, Stitch Fix CMO Deirdre Findlay, FabFitFun Co-founder Katie Rosen Kitchens, Maven Founder and CEO Katherine Ryder, plus standouts from Fortune’s Brainstorm TECH network and 40 Under 40 list and executives at leading global companies such as Airbnb, eBay, Facebook, IBM, Lyft, Mastercard, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, NBCUniversal, Salesforce, Twitter and Visa.
  28. Tech Inclusion, Multiple dates in 2019, Multiple Locations: Created by Change Catalyst, Tech Inclusion events bring the local tech industry together to find solutions for diversity and inclusion. You’ll join executives, hiring managers, human resources personnel, data scientists, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and diversity and inclusion advocates at three events across the year in locations like Melbourne, New York and San Francisco. Learn new solutions for diversity and inclusion, meet underrepresented entrepreneurs and investors, speak with policymakers and educators, interact with inclusive and accessible design, and collaborate and network with other people who care about creating positive change in tech.
  29. Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, Date TBD, Location TBD: Gain access to the connections, financing, resources and strategic insight you need to launch and grow your dream business. This is the must-attend event for aspiring business owners, startup founders, and established entrepreneurs looking for new money-making and growth opportunities for their ventures.
  30. LULAC’s Latinx Tech Summit, Date TBD, Location TBD: Presented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in partnership with Capital Factory and Prospanica Texas, the annual Latinx Tech Summit is designed for Latino tech leaders, designers, innovators, corporate and government leaders, and scholars. The one-day program features engaging peer-to-peer discussions, culturally relevant professional development, and exceptional opportunities to interact with Latinx public officials, artists, scientists, authors, business executives, scholars, entrepreneurs and Latino tech leaders from every major industry.

Have a conference we missed that you would like added to the list? Tweet us or share on Instagram @CaseFoundation.

 

#FacesofFounders is Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship One Story at a Time

At the Case Foundation, we’ve set out on a mission to create an inclusive entrepreneurial space in which any entrepreneur, regardless of their gender, race or geographic location, has the opportunity to succeed and thrive. Too often we hear the same outdated myths and stereotypes of who can be an entrepreneur. Over time, these narratives have been reinforced and have left women and entrepreneurs of color on the sidelines. #FacesofFounders seeks to provide a wealth of inspiration capital by recognizing America’s diversity of talent and experiences that doesn’t always get equal coverage in the entrepreneurship space. By telling their stories of triumph and recognizing the changes they have inspired within their respective industries, we hope to change the way we view entrepreneurship and the importance of supporting diverse entrepreneurs.

Originally launched in 2016, the Case Foundation created this campaign to be the centerpiece of the Foundation’s inclusive entrepreneurship movement by highlighting a diverse array of entrepreneurs, focusing on women, entrepreneurs of color and entrepreneurs between the coasts. Nearly 750 founders took the time to submit stories of their own entrepreneurship journeys. Five of those stories were featured in Fast Company and we launched the Medium publication to continue telling the stories of incredible founders building businesses right now. Last month, we launched a new video featuring entrepreneurs from across the country and expanded the content on FacesofFounders.org so we can keep the drumbeat going and dig even deeper into the rich stories and lessons these powerful entrepreneurs can offer us.

What’s New?

  • Resources for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs, you don’t have to build your business alone. We compiled a list of useful guides and tools on numerous topics to help you succeed.
  • Resources for ecosystem builders. The Kauffman Foundation gathered resources to help the ecosystem builders who are on the ground working to build a better future and to grow a more inclusive economy.
  • Resources for investors. InclusionVentures shared their key learnings from research and their experience supporting investment firms on building an inclusion strategy, in an effort to inspire and support investors’ interests in making inclusive entrepreneurship the norm.
  • Data on the state of inclusive entrepreneurship. We dove into three types of data that show major disparities: the number of entrepreneurs and businesses; investments in entrepreneurship, mainly in the form of venture capital; and revenue these businesses are producing. We will update consistently as new data becomes available.
  • Videos. In addition to the written stories we’ve been publishing on #FacesofFounders for the past year and a half, we have now added a suite of videos that allow you to hear directly from entrepreneurs how they’re getting to work, what barriers they’ve encountered and what successes they’ve had.

As we work to make the entrepreneurial space more inclusive, we recognize that this campaign goes beyond just the entrepreneur herself, and as Jean Case says, is an economic imperative for our nation. Entrepreneurs from all places and backgrounds can have the ability to lift up their communities, bring job growth and new innovations to our economy. Get ready to take the journey with us as we explore inclusivity and redefine the face of entrepreneurship.

Empowering Female Founders and Entrepreneurs of Color in Los Angeles and Beyond

This Spring, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sat down with our Case Foundation VP for Social Innovation, Sarah Koch, at Urban Tech Connect, a conference designed to support and provide networks for startup founders of color.  Together they explored how the Los Angeles tech ecosystem has grown over the past several years—from a record numbers of startups calling LA their home to an influx of funding rounds and the many high-profile acquisitions and exits—and how important the building of ecosystems to support founders from all backgrounds has proven to be across the country.

In 2017 alone, startups throughout the the city of Los Angeles raised $7 billion in capital, through an upsurge in new investments and new firms. And more than $1.4 billion was raised in 2017 across 16 funds. During the conversation Mayor Garcetti shared how his office has sought to expand their startup ecosystem through programs like the Grid110’s and the creation of the TechFair LA which featured more than 200 leading regional startups.

Watch the video as Mayor Garcetti and Sarah share more on how we can be intentional about how we fund, mentor and support female founders and entrepreneurs of color in thriving cities like Los Angeles and beyond.

The Future of Business Will Be More Female

This Spring, the Case Foundation brought together a dynamic slate of female founders at SXSW for a conversation on why we believe the future of business is female. Case Foundation Board Member, Sonal Shah, who heads Georgetown University’s Beeck Center on Social Impact & Innovation led a discussion with Stephanie Lampkin from Blendoor, Jennifer Stybel from the Rent the Runway Foundation and Cindy Whitehead from The Pink Ceiling. Together they explored why intentionality around equal opportunity for women is key to building and funding a successful startup enterprise and the new pathways for investing in women-led companies.

Lampkin, who founded Blendoor, works with hundreds of tech companies—from Salesforce, to Google, Microsoft and more eliminating unconscious bias in job hiring by creating identity-blind applications. Meanwhile, Whitehead—who sold a company for more than $1 billion dollars three years ago—shared more on how she raised money to fund her company in unconventional ways. Her new company, The Pink Ceiling, provides seed investing and commercial support for female-led startups. The panelists each shared how they pay it forward by making early bets on other women-led companies and providing support for female entrepreneurs. Jennifer Stybel shared how Rent the Runway Foundation is doing just that. She, along with Whitehead and Lampkin are building a pipeline of women-led startups set to change the world.

Watch their conversation above.

7 Fearless Founder Podcasts to Listen To

Everyone loves a good success story, and entrepreneurs tend to have especially fascinating ones. The road to success rarely goes in a straight line; rather, most successful people have encountered quite a few failures and obstacles along the way.  

Learning from these challenges and failing forward is what often leads to breakthroughs. As our Be Fearless principles state, making big bets, failing forward, trying brave experiments, working with unlikely partners and letting urgency conquer fear can be the keys to success for entrepreneurs.

Being fearless isn’t always easy. But seeing stories of fearless entrepreneurs who have braved the path before can be the inspiration capital needed for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin to build their businesses. That’s why telling the stories of entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, and lifting up role models whose stories are not told as frequently in mainstream entrepreneurship coverage, is so important. Our #FacesofFounders campaign has brought together stories of entrepreneurs across race, place and gender, what they struggle with, what they’re building and why inclusivity makes entrepreneurship even stronger. We also regularly share stories of those changing the narrative of who is and can be entrepreneurs in our weekly newsletter, Breaking Good.

But sometimes hearing—not just reading—stories can be uniquely powerful. So, we asked the Case Foundation team to share some of their favorite stories of entrepreneurship, as told by podcasts. While there are many great stories out there, we compiled a list of nine podcast episodes of entrepreneurs who each stand out in a different way. Read on to learn about some of the founders who inspire us and remind us to Be Fearless.


Spanx—Sara Blakely on NPR’s “How I Built This”

Sara Blakely’s story starts with selling fax machines and ends with her becoming the youngest self-made female billionaire in the US. But her journey to get there may be less well-known. She launched Spanx with the money in her savings after seeing a need for an undergarment that incorporates the control top feature of pantyhose without the legs of pantyhose.

Blakely’s journey gathering support from manufacturers, patent attorneys, buyers and even Oprah is an inspiring one for women founders pitching unique and disruptive products. The story of how she convinced a Neiman Marcus buyer to work with her is also a funny reminder that unconventional methods can sometimes be the most effective ones.  

Be Visible—Andrea Guendelman, on Backstage Capital’s “Mission and Values”

As fans of Inclusive Entrepreneurship, we loved hearing about the journey of Andrea Guendelman, who co-founded Be Visible. Recognizing a lack of available professional mentoring and networking resources for Latinx professionals, she built Be Visible as a professional social network for the group.

Throughout the podcast, Andrea breaks down the underlying barriers that separate Latinx professionals from many opportunities available to the wider population. She talks about the group’s unique needs and how Latinx Millennials specifically can be supported and encouraged to be engaged and connected citizens. She also has an interesting backstory that crosses countries and industries before launching Be Visible. Listen through the end to hear about where the platform is going and which big client Be Visible just landed.


Hamdi Ulukaya—Chobani, on Fast Company’s “Innovators Uncensored”

For a lesson in humble beginnings, hard work and compassionate leadership, listen to Fast Company editor, Robert Safian’s interview with Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani. Ulukaya’s path to success was untraditional, to say the least. He started in a closed down factory in a small town in upstate New York, working with a team of just five people and had no prior formal business, marketing or managing experience.

What was the first thing his team did after opening the factory? It’s not what you’d expect, but Ulukaya’s story bucks tradition from the beginning and you have to tune into to hear it straight from Ulukaya. After Chobani’s massive success, Ulukaya shares how he didn’t let success go to his head, how he has sought to stay accountable to his employees and how he doesn’t shy away from wider issues, like the refugee crisis. Listen to the interview to hear him tell the story of two refugees (of the 600 he’s hired) who found success working for Chobani. Ulukaya’s story is the story of a leader rebelling against assumptions about how businesses are run and putting purpose at the center of his business.  

Capway—Sheena Allen, on “VC Cheat Sheet”

Sheena Allen took a non-traditional route to entrepreneurship, launching Capway, a Financial Tech company, from rural Mississippi. Allen talks about her journey to launching the FinTech company, which serves different groups of financially underserved consumers and talks about the unconscious bias that she had to overcome to succeed.  

The ‘aha’ moment that led to her launching Capway came in a grocery store, where she saw a long line of people waiting to cash their checks. Through more research, Allen identified the massive gap in financial services for unbanked and underbanked populations—which leads to people cashing checks at nontraditional financial institutions, like grocery and convenience stores. Despite there being a huge market to serve this community, gaining support from investors was a challenge. Allen shares how she’s been able to find success and find the right investors to work with. And she holds nothing back, giving very direct advice to women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs looking to build support and sharing her advice on how to ask for help the right way. Listen to her story for insight into the experience of an entrepreneur building support for a service for underrepresented consumers.


Radio One—Cathy Hughes, on NPR’s “How I Built This”

For some serious entrepreneurial inspiration, you’ll want to listen to Cathy Hughes’ journey to radio success, which involves a fair share of bumps in the road along the way. As a young, single mom, Hughes moved from Omaha, Nebraska to Washington, DC to help launch the radio station at Howard University. She found success there by creating shows that catered to underrepresented communities in DC, but her journey didn’t stop there.

Hughes’s path to becoming a media mogul takes unexpected twists and turns, including a stint of living with her son in the young, struggling radio station she bought. Her story of navigating entrepreneurship, motherhood, success and expansion as a female founder of color is interesting for so many reasons; from the creative to the financial to the personal.

Coss Marte—ConBody, on Gimlet Media’s “Start Up”

Part 1 and Part 2
This is a story about second chances. Coss Marte is an ex-convict who spent four years in prison for selling drugs. Fast forward to today and he’s running a successful fitness business, ConBody.  

The inspiration for the company came while Marte was still in prison. Dealing with health problems and the confinement of prison, Marte developed his own workout routines that could be done in small spaces and without weights, and he helped other inmates do the same. In the podcast, Marte shares his story building up a customer base, battling negative perceptions and making sure to hire fellow ex-convicts, who struggle to get jobs after leaving incarceration. The podcast begins and ends with Marte and his cofounder, Jenn Shaw going to a pitch competition where they’re starkly reminded how much they stand out; he being Latino and Shaw being a woman among a crowd of mostly white, Ivy league grads. The story of his journey there, and the results of the pitch competition, will inspire and surprise you.


Mariam Naficy—Minted, on “Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman”

Mariam Naficy is a two-time founder who launched both her companies in uncertain times. She started with Eve.com, the first major online cosmetics seller, which she launched in the late 90’s, a time when the future of the internet was unclear. In fact, to obtain the domain name, she actually had to make a deal with a very powerful five-year-old by the same name. From there, Eve.com raised $26 million in its first year and continued to scale rapidly until she sold the company in 2000.

After moving on from Eve, Naficy moved on to her next venture, Minted, an online stationary store. In this episode, she shares her challenges raising venture capital as a mom entrepreneur, and launching a company in 2008, at the height of a financial crisis. Minted would go on to raise $89 million in Venture Capital and ship to 70 million households, but along the way, Naficy faced a lot of teachable failures, which she shares with listeners.

We hope these podcasts inspire you as much as they have our team. For some more #BeFearless inspiration, check out our Be Fearless hub, and to learn more about how we’re championing entrepreneurship for all through inspiration capital and more, check out our Inclusive Entrepreneurship page and #FacesofFounders series.

This Month in Social Good

February may be the shortest month of the year, but this February was packed with news in the world of social innovation. In particular, we saw new data, stories and perspectives brought forward in the world of Inclusive Entrepreneurship that we’d like to reflect on and use to power the movement. I spent some time rereading our weekly Case Foundation Breaking Good newsletter to gauge some of the conversation around supporting diverse entrepreneurs this month. Here are some of the articles and trends that stood out to me: 

Black History Month is a reminder to uplift Black entrepreneurs—past and present

Every day is a great day to celebrate the achievements of groundbreaking innovators in history and the people who are carrying on their legacies and building their own. But as Black History Month comes to a close, we’re given a renewed commitment to uplift the stories of Black entrepreneurs—sharing both the contributions they bring and the unique challenges they face. 

With that in mind, we were inspired by reflections from successful Black entrepreneurs on how they succeeded in a world filled with barriers designed to stifle their progress. One of the Be Fearless quotes that stood out came from Urban One founder, Cathy Hughes: 

“[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it.” 

There’s a glaring gap for women entrepreneurs

As reports highlighting data on entrepreneurship from 2017 begin to come out, the statistics on women entrepreneurs are disheartening, to say the least. According to Pitchbook, businesses with all-women founding teams received just 2.2 percent of all venture capital in 2017. Teams with a mix of genders received just 12 percent, and a whopping 79 percent of venture capital went to all-male teams (the remaining 7 percent was unreported). 

To change these numbers, there isn’t an easy fix. We know where we can start—more women launching businesses, more women in venture capital, fewer cases of bias at the hands of investors—but none of these alone will solve the problem. Partners are stepping up across industries to build solutions together that will collectively challenge the systemic biases that affect how opportunity is distributed in our culture. Data and storytelling can play major role in that, which brings us to our next trend. 

We need to support data and storytelling on underrepresented innovators

Sherrell Dorsey is doing just that. Dorsey founded a daily newsletter called ThePLUG to report on founders, investors and innovators of color. This month, she talked to Vice about the need for more data on Black entrepreneurs. This is one of the many great points she made: 

“A lot of times, especially in the black community, when you look at entrepreneurship, there’s been very little data collection—like, the kind of businesses we’re creating, the kind of problems that we’re solving. (…) A lot of times investors are looking for patterns in data, so when that information is not shared in public, you get a knowledge gap.” 

To extrapolate out from what Sherrell is saying, if investors don’t have the data they are used to having when making investment decisions, they are less likely to fund initiatives. Therefore, having a more robust dataset on Black entrepreneurship could help spark solutions across the board. That’s something we’re working towards as we champion inspiration capital as a core part of our Inclusive Entrepreneurship work. By uplifting the stories of underrepresented entrepreneurs—stories that share both their challenges and their unique insights—we’re hoping to change widespread assumptions about who is and can be a talented entrepreneur. 

Entrepreneurship can flourish across in all communities across the U.S.

Another widespread assumption about entrepreneurship we’re working to challenge is the notion that Silicon Valley is the only great place to launch a company. Fortunately, that idea is being challenged by entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem builders across the country. We loved hearing about how Kela Ivonye, founder of connected delivery storage service, MailHaven found Louisville Kentucky, not Silicon Valley to be the best place to build the company.  

On the ecosystem side, we’ve been inspired by news about places like Raleigh, where a program is helping formerly incarcerated individuals pursue entrepreneurship. In the Midwest, a variety of organizations are working to support the region’s female entrepreneurs. And in New York, three of the city’s major banks announced plans to give a combined $40 million to programs supporting women and entrepreneurs of color there.  

This month, Engine also interviewed an ecosystem builder in Colorado as part of an ongoing series we love, #StartupsEverywhere, where the outlet talks to the people building entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. And this week’s Kauffman Foundation newsletter poses important questions on how we can build inclusive ecosystems, including a powerful video by Melissa Bradley on her experiences as an entrepreneur, investor and ecosystem builder. 

From celebrating past and present Black entrepreneurs and leaders, to building solutions for female founders, to tackling the data gap, to highlighting innovation everywhere—leaders in the world of Inclusive Entrepreneurship are getting to work. The stories we’ve seen this month inspire us and we can’t wait to read and share even more of these informative and inspirational stories. To learn more, sign up for our newsletter, Breaking Good. 

Is there anything we missed this month? Tell us about your favorite social good story you saw in February!