Only a few weeks ago #12percent was merely an idea in Kathrin Folkendt’s head. Now it’s not only a high-end online publication that has already launched two editions, but also a brand new meetup.
The first event took place on Tuesday, 8 September at sektor5 – which is not only Austria’s newly crowned Best Coworking Space but also Kathrin’s home as a coworker. On the panel, moderated by Kathrin herself, were Nina Wöss (Principal at SpeedInvest), Annemarie Harant (Co-founder of startup Erdbeerwoche), and Floor Drees (Managing Director of sektor5).
The topics inevitably veered from general startup stuff towards women in the startup ecosystem, and the rather intimate setting of the meetup allowed for straight talk on the panel. Here are some takeaways and highlights for those who couldn’t attend the event.
Annemarie: “I think that mentorship is something that will change in the future. Successful women in the generation before us had one mentor, but our generation knows that a network is important.”
Nina: “It’s important to have someone who challenges you and gives you feedback.”
Floor: “Unfortunately, we need these kinds of events, like Railsgirls, because there’s such a small number of women who would go to an event labeled Rails for beginners, since they see themselves as less-than-beginners. Hopefully, this will change in the future. But for now, unfortunately, it’s still needed.”
Annemarie: “As we sit on this panel or any panel, we are not just ourselves and entrepreneurs, but we always stand for the female startup community in Austria. We represent.”
Nina: “We try to focus on hiring topics with our startups. I do see diversity in our teams, for instance when it comes to hiring migrants, but when it comes to gender there’s still a long way to go.”
Floor: “I see a lot of women thinking they’re underqualified and men think they’re overqualified. To hire diversely you need to do way more outreach. The women are there, they just need a little more encouragement.”
And on what the startup community can learn from the tech community:
“There’s a lot of work being done, especially in the Ruby on Rails community. They specifically reach out to female founders and speakers, they go the extra mile, while the startup community likes to just shrug and say ‘we’re open for everyone to apply.’”
Floor: “The schau-ma-mal mentality bothers me. I’m Dutch, and we don‘t do that. It’s either yes or no, and I like clear ideas because I want to move forward.”
Annemarie: ”An app is not automatically a business case!”
Nina: “When I started 3 years ago people were helping each other a lot, but now there’s a lot more competition and everyone wants to be the next success story. These people should help each other more without expecting something in return immediately. Be happy if somebody else is successful.”
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