ACTiVATE'ing Women Entrepreneurs Closes Early-Stage Gap to Drive Economic Recovery

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

For the past six years, the Baltimore / Washington area has felt a positive economic impact from a women’s technology entrepreneurship program called ACTIVATE®. A report released by The Kauffman Foundation today confirms not only ACTiVATE's approach and focus, but also validates claims about the untapped potential women have as economic creators.


The report, titled “Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers” cites research that shows:

  • New companies create the most jobs
  • Many high-growth firms are built around new science and technology
  • Women have risen to the top in technology-oriented corporate and university hierarchies much more than in entrepreneurship
  • There is a need to get more women into and successful in high-growth industries as entrepreneurs


The ACTiVATE program fills the early part of the gaps highlighted in the report by helping both technical and non-technically-oriented women start companies enabled by technology. Thanks in part to a recent grant from the Kauffman Foundation, ACTiVATE is poised for replication and is currently seeking expansion partners.


“Our research at the Kauffman Foundation shows that not only are jobs are created by new companies, but that the average age of age of a successful entrepreneur is around 40. This supports ACTiVATE’s focus on helping mid-career women start growth-oriented companies,” says Lesa Mitchell, vice president of innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. “Regions interested in a systematic way to create high-quality jobs should consider this program as a proven and cost-effective option for doing so.”


The general conclusion positions support for women entrepreneurs in growth industries – and the nonprofits that serve them - not as a gender equity mandate, but an economic imperative.

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