Developing an Inclusive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Inviting in the next generation of women mentors

At many universities and communities, diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship remain elusive goals. When growing an entrepreneurial ecosystem, it is challenging to create incubators that transcend stereotypes and level the playing field. How can we create spaces, programs, and networks that speak to and include women in entrepreneurship?

Strategies include drawing from research and experience to create actions demonstrating a commitment to transparency, fostering a sense of belonging. Expanding the pool of mentors, role models and leaders to include individuals from diverse backgrounds while maintaining an affirming culture can create a network that is more inviting to individuals from groups historically underrepresented in entrepreneurship.

The biggest successes come when members move from idea to prototype to business, and when community members become mentors themselves. Ensuring that innovators have access to mentorship, funding, and a supportive network of contacts are some of the elements of a successful, inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Bonnie Sanborn, Cornell University

Track: Topics in I&E

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