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Participants at the Startup Weekend Women's Edition. Photo: Kyle Kesterson
Participants at the 2012 Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in Seattle. Photo: Kyle Kesterson

The lack of females in startups and tech is a big issue to many, and now, Seattle-based UP Global is teaming up with Google in an effort to help support women entrepreneurs.

startup_women_logo_blue_RGB-1UP Global, the Seattle non-profit that formed last year through the combination of Startup America and Startup Weekend, is launching an initiative called “Startup Women,” that has support from Google for Entrepreneurs and The Blackstone Charitable Foundation.

The idea is to connect more women with the world of entrepreneurship and support them through UP Global’s programs, which include Startup Weekend, NEXT and StartupDigest. There are some ambitious 2014 goals for “Startup Women,” which include the creation of 1,500 female-led startups, an advisory board for “Startup Women” efforts, and a minimum of 10 Startup Weekend Women’s Edition events in the U.S. along with five abroad.

Back in the summer of 2012, Seattle hosted the second-ever Startup Weekend Women’s Edition, an event hosted by Julie Sandler of Madrona Venture Group and Shauna Causey, who recently joined UP Global. It marked the first time that a female-oriented hackathon was held in Seattle. Of the 90 participants, 75 percent were women.

Julie Sandler and Shauna Causey helped organize the first women's hackathon in Seattle two years ago.
Julie Sandler and Shauna Causey helped organize the first women’s hackathon in Seattle two years ago.

Most of the women said that they were inspired by the event, saying that they would participate at future Startup Weekends. Adriana Moscatelli, a user experience designer who led the gaming upstart Pink Matrix Labs, said she made some fantastic connections during the event.

“In our daily work, we spend all day around guys,” said Moscatelli. “It was such a unique opportunity to spend time around so many smart, engaging and geeky women.”

Interestingly, GeekWire columnist Monica Guzman wondered if it was discriminatory to host an event that limits the participation of one group in favor of another.

“Is this a healthy event for our startup climate, or a flawed one?” Guzman asked.

The city of Seattle itself was recently ranked third-best in the U.S. for female entrepreneurs. There are several notable female entrepreneurs doing big things from CEO Jane Park to Modumetal CEO Christina Lomasney, just to name a few. In a recent effort to educate younger girls about starting their own businesses, LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce organized an all-day field trip for 7th grade girls from Seattle Girls’ School.

“We put on the event to inspire the girls to become entrepreneurs, technologists, and business leaders in our community,” Pearce said.

Find out more about the “Startup Women” initiative here.

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