Analyzing data from 400,000+ small business owners on their platform, our friends at (Hello Alice handle) reported that access to funding consistently ranks as the number one challenge for small business owners across all demographics. And in line with their mission to help get today’s entrepreneurs the money they need and deserve, Hello Alice just introduced their new Small Business Funding Center. Offering an approachable way to financial freedom, the Funding Center provides small business owners with grant opportunities, loan options, and other forms of funding and resources through a streamlined process.

Get the Money You Need to Grow Your Business

From a grant to jazz up your online storefront to a loan to help you stock up on inventory, the Small Business Funding Center connects you with the capital you need to launch and grow your small business. The juggle is real for hard-working entrepreneurs like you, so you can bank on easy applications and personalized recommendations here.

Power Forward Grant

In partnership with VistaprintBoston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, and NAACP

This collaboration offers $25,000 grants plus marketing and design resources for Black- and Brown-owned small businesses across New England.

Visit hialice.co/smallbizfunding to check out the Small Business Funding Center today and share with your favorite entrepreneurs! 

BGE Energizing Small Business Grants

In partnership with BGE

Now in Round 3, the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants program provides $20,000 to eligible small businesses across Maryland for COVID-19 relief and recovery.

Visit hialice.co/smallbizfunding to check out the Small Business Funding Center today and share with your favorite entrepreneurs! 

You can also participate in our partnership giveaway: Explore Small Business Grants and Enter to Win $50 Starbucks GiftCard

When COVID-19 hit last year, Senator Patty Kuderer asked, “How are the WIC founders doing and is there any meaningful data to share with legislators? And how will you be serving the new landscape?”

After talking to WIC Board of Directors and the Board of Advisors we commissioned COVID-19 Impact Survey to understand the state of the ecosystem and also impact on businesses. 

When we saw the data, we were devastated with the results and it was much worse than we had anticipated. The report indicated that the average loss of revenue in the next 24 months, across women tech entrepreneurs surveyed expanding 16 industries, is $500 thousand to $1 million per company. An additional $1 million to $5 million per company is expected in opportunity loss over the next three years. 

Women entrepreneurs face many complex challenges in setting up, growing and sustaining their tech businesses. 

Gender stereotypes, a lack of access to finance and complex societal threats like political instability, enormous uncertainty and a range of different barriers can prevent women’s businesses from thriving. It is particularly striking that the majority of women reported that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was the single greatest challenge they had ever faced.

In partnership with M12 Ventures, they commissioned a second edition of COVID-19 research to understand the comparison and see if something changed or if it is getting worse. 

What did the 2021 Edition OF COVID-19 research reveal?

Respondents of the survey in 2021 reflected those who responded in 2020, companies serving small-to-medium sized and enterprise level businesses, as well as nonprofit and public sector organizations, serving a wide breadth of more than 15 industries.

DOWNLOAD THE 2021 EDITION of COVID-19 RESEARCH MATERIALS

Recommendations: What’s Next?

While the outlook moving forward in a post pandemic world isn’t completely grim for women technology entrepreneurs and their businesses, many organizations and individuals will not be able to recover from the severe impacts alone.

In order to support the recovery needs for women technology entrepreneurs and their businesses, Women in Cloud has created a number of turn-key events and initiatives.

Solutions: Taking Action to Unlock Economic Opportunities

Get Introduced – 70% of women entrepreneurs in our network stated their #1 request was a warm introduction to an advisor, leader or mentor who can transform the trajectory of their career through the power of collective access and action. A streamlined platform to facilitate warm introductions between women in tech and potential clients, sponsors, mentors and advisors that allows women technologists easy access to WIC’s large and growing network of industry leaders, driving connection and collaboration. Request a Warm Introduction Today

Fortune 100 Lunch and Learn Sessions – Women in Cloud intends to double down on Fortune brand representation and engagement through a number of initiatives to facilitate relationships between women technology professionals and Fortune100 companies. #WICxFortune100 Lunch & Learn series is a networking experience designed to open the doors for leading fortune companies and brands to connect with technology business builders. Apply today to attend

WIC Microsoft Cloud Accelerator – An immersive 6 month program to assist women-led tech companies to co-build, co-market and co-sell with Microsoft and their distribution channels to help women in tech win enterprise opportunities, get access to Azure credits, an advisor community and a global stage to showcase their solutions. Secure Your Spot at the next Cloud Accelerator Open House

WIC Digital Academy – A digital learning initiative offering courses designed for anyone who wants to break into the world of enterprise sales to support women entrepreneurs in the development of skills for marketing and selling of cloud solutions in an enterprise environment. Get started with the Winning & Keeping Enterprise Contracts Course today

WIC Solution Marketplace – A one-stop shop for technology solutions and services for the mid-to-enterprise market, created, owned and operated by women entrepreneurs, creating an easy way for businesses to find and source women-led technology solutions. Here, buyers can easily find a variety of enterprise-ready solutions, special offers, and ability to schedule demos. Get started & Submit Your Solution today

Resources: Tools to Keep Handy

Here is how you can help the entire community and get involved.

Share this report with investors, policy makers and corporate executives. Understand how they can advance economic access. If they don’t have answers, suggest or recommend Women in Cloud as an economic development solution to accelerate sustainable growth.

Thank you to our partners on this initiative, M12, Arielle for Africa, Black Channel Partner Alliance, Hello Alice, Founders Live, The WIT Network, IAMCP, UN EQUALS, and Microsoft Alumni Network.

We are excited to share that we have launched the 6.0 cohort of the WIC Microsoft Cloud Accelerator virtually on August 27, 2021. Announced ahead of the signature event #WICxUNGA, this Accelerator enables female tech founders to leverage the power of partnering with hyperscalers like Microsoft to become enterprise-ready.

Women in Cloud has successfully graduated 60+ women-led companies over 5 previous cohorts with a recent global expansion with a focus to 9 countries around the world: United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, India, Kenya, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. The program is designed to help women tech founders win enterprise opportunities, get access to Azure credits, an advisor & investor community, participate in MS Startup program and a global stage to showcase their businesses while co-building, co-marketing and co-selling with Microsoft and their distribution channels. 

The Cloud Accelerator combines training, access to industry leaders, structured training and office hours, industry events, self-learning content, and more, all via digital platforms making the Accelerator accessible to women-led business worldwide. Women in Cloud is excited to announce the following 10 companies from 4 countries as accepted in the 6.0 cohort of their award-winning Microsoft Cloud Accelerator:

Women In Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is designed as an immersive 6-month program to assist women-led tech companies to build stronger co-sell plans with Microsoft and their distribution channels . This program is expertly designed to help women tech entrepreneurs win enterprise opportunities, get access to Azure credits, an advisor community, and a global stage to showcase their business.

The 6.0 Cohort Immersive Kickoff session held on Friday, August 27, 2021. The first session featured curated speakers, Chaitra Vedullapalli, Co-Founder and President of WiC; Karen Fassio, Director of Microsoft WW Partner Marketing; Pradnya Desh, CEO of Advocat Technologies; Padma Subramanian, CEO of Fyrii.ai; and Patti Dobrowolski, CEO & Creative Activator of Up Your Creative Genius. The speakers consisted of founders, industry leaders and previous cohort entrepreneurs who set the tone for the new class about the current industry landscape, how to vision their cloud businesses, along with deliverables and takeaways by the end of 6 months. 

This kickoff focused on helping founders develop their future vision and this experience was led by Patti Dobrowolski, 3 Times TEDx speaker and inspired the founders to design their co-sell plan.

Here is the output of what a vision of equitable equity and access looks like for women founders.

The cohort 6.0 will be a digital accelerator with built in benefits including azure credits, listing on marketplaces, participating in global UN focused campaigns, bi-weekly office hours, monthly live chats with industry leaders, and continued access to industry stages, has elevated our programming to an unmatched scale.

Going digital has let us expand our horizon and open this program to people from around the world rather than just a region. Cohort 6.0 boasts a diverse participation of companies from the United States, Canada, India and the Netherlands.

This year’s WiC Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is more than just an effort to make economic contributions to the system by empowering entrepreneurs. It is about embracing the new normal and moving forward with a sense of community. It is about adopting self-empowerment and finding comfort in knowing where to turn for support with a community at your side. Most importantly, it is about collective growth and learning.

The Cloud Accelerator combines training, access to industry leaders, structured training and office hours, industry events, self-learning content, and more, all via digital platforms making the Accelerator accessible to women-led business worldwide. Women in Cloud is excited to announce the following companies as accepted in the 6.0 cohort of their award-winning Microsoft Cloud Accelerator:

  • rThreat: rThreat is a breach and attack emulation platform that challenges your cyber defenses using real world and custom threats in a secure environment. Think of rThreat as your live fire exercise for cyber attacks.
  • Plan Heal: The Plan Heal Smart Health Assessment uses AI/ML to continuously monitor the health of patients remotely for early disease detection and post-treatment monitoring. The solution can increase the quality of health outcomes and decrease the cost of healthcare for consumers, insurance companies, and employers.
  • SaaSMAX Corp.: PartnerOptimizer is a robust intelligent software solution that enables sales teams and marketers in the B2B tech sector to identify new best-fit channel partners and optimize their indirect sales channels.
  • Theta Retail: Theta Retail is a cloud-based platform for companies servicing big-box retailers under a VMI model. We specialize in providing advanced analytics and AI to companies that historically cannot utilize sophisticated computing to solve their supply chain problems.
  • TRaiCE Inc.: TRaiCE is an early warning BUSINESS risk detection and monitoring system, for financial institutions – that lend and invest. Currently, there is NO one single gap free credit risk detection and monitoring system that allows a business’s risk profile to be computed daily. TRaiCE fills this gap, by combining internal financial data with external financial data APIs + Publicly available News Feeds 24×7 to compute a DAILY risk index, projecting it to the next 3 to 6 months, rank ordering businesses daily by risk and watch levels.
  • Planimetron Inc.: Propidex is an effective, fully integrated space management solution for the Commercial Real Estate management professionals as well as independent architects and space planning firms. Propidex aims to satisfy the needs of the asset, property, marketing, tenant coordination, space planning, legal, lease administration and leasing manager.
  • Inspace: An enterprise SaaS platform designed to help companies transform their offices into hybrid workspaces while cutting office rental and operating costs by up to 50% and increasing collaboration by 65%.
  • Waves Process Intelligence: A platform to extract, transform and load all your process data.
  • ioAirFlow: ioAirFlow’s digital analysis platform identifies indoor environmental quality issues in commercial buildings, including performance, energy efficiency, and air quality measurements. Using wireless sensors and our proprietary data analysis platform, we’re able to spot building problems faster and more accurately than manual energy audits.
  • Zhennovate: Our human-centered ed-tech cloud-based platform codifies professional coaching intelligence and scales personalized career, leadership, & life coaching for mindset and behavioral shifts to empower organizational success, at a rate that is 10x cheaper than today’s professional coaching and training services.

This year, Global Affairs Canada underwrote 50% of the accelerator fees for two Canadian companies that were approved to participate in the 6.0 cohort. Their previous generous support has allowed 12 of our WIC Accelerator entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to scale their businesses to become co-sell and co-market ready with enterprise partners.

Women in Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator programming is supported by Fortune brands and partners such as Microsoft, Accenture, Hitachi Solutions, IBM, Insight, Boeing, and Global Affairs Canada.

Women are the key drivers of the economy; by accessing the resources needed to launch and sustain businesses, Women in Cloud will address the economic inclusion to co-develop and co-market solutions by providing women the tools, knowledge, and networks they need to build a successful enterprise-ready cloud business.

For more information on Women in Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator, please visit: https://www.womenincloud.com/founder-focused-initiatives/ 

We will be hosting a #CloudInnovateHER Pitch Challenge on October 15 as a part of #WICxUNGA. We invite you to apply. Click here to learn more: https://www.womenincloud.com/pitch-challenge/ 

On June 18th, 2021, Google partnered with Women in Cloud to host the “Fortune 100 Lunch and Learn Series”. This event connected female founders and entrepreneurs of cloud-based companies with key leaders from the industry—while placing an emphasis on inclusivity and empowerment. Through a power panel, cloud solution showcase, and roundtable experience with Google advisors, attendees learned how to conduct business with Fortune 100 companies.

Google has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In March, they announced partnerships with several organizations—including Women In Cloud—to support the rise of women in the technology industry. Google’s role in these partnerships is to host educational events, supply technical content for training programs, mentor, provide financial support, and provide Google Cloud developers who will speak at conferences. They made strides towards these goals when they sponsored the #CloudJobs Recruitment Lounge at the Women in Cloud International Women’s Day Summit and co-hosted the #ChooseToChallenge Power Panel. The Lunch and Learn series aimed to build on these foundations by assisting entrepreneurs in their journey to create economic impact.  

In addition to their external efforts, Google employees demonstrate the company’s internal commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs. Jeana Jorgensen—senior director and product marketer at Google Cloud—is a pioneer for the empowerment of women in tech. As the power talk panelist at the “Fortune 100 Lunch and Learn Series”, Jorgenson facilitated access by sharing the “Trifecta Approach to Building Strategic Relationships with Google”.

According to the World Economic Forum, addressing gender inequality post-pandemic will be substantially more difficult than it is today. Intervention in the present is more pressing than ever—which is why companies must ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are key pillars in their plans for recovering from COVID-19. Google’s pledge to this movement comes at a crucial time and serves as a role model for other corporation’s role in the empowerment of women in technology.

Learn More:

#WICxFortune100 Lunch & Learn Series is an intimate and curated networking experience designed to open the doors for leading fortune companies and brands to connect with technology business builders. This intimate learning series offers a space to learn about how to do business with Fortune companies, understand their company culture, and get access to decision-makers and procurement officers.

The #empowHERaccess Inaugural Awards celebrates the achievements of 8 winners who facilitated economic access and recovery for women affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and recognizes the contributions to the cloud ecosystems made by both individuals and organizations. The awards are supported by corporate and private brands such as M12, IBM, Microsoft, Accenture, Boeing, Insight and others.Seattle, Washington– According to McKinsey, centering women around economic recovery efforts would grow the global GDP by an estimated $13 trillion, or 16 percent, by 2030 — because when women thrive, so do their families and communities. A report from Kaspersky published in January found that roughly half of the 6,500 women surveyed believed that the pandemic had hurt them professionally.

The #empowHERaccess digital advocacy campaign seeks to raise awareness about the magnified impact of COVID-19 on women, promote stories of women’s professional resilience, especially in technology entrepreneurship, and accelerate economic recovery.

The #empowHERaccess Inaugural Awards celebrates the achievements of 8 winners who facilitated economic access and recovery for women affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and recognizes the contributions to the cloud ecosystems made by both individuals and organizations. The awards are supported by corporate and private brands such as M12, IBM, Microsoft, Accenture, Boeing, Insight, Consulate of Canada and Meylah. Over 100 applications were submitted and 26 were chosen as finalists for 8 awards.

Winners were announced in a virtual awards ceremony on July 16, 2021 at the #WICxInspire 2021 event, hosted by TEDx speaker and entrepreneur Patti Dobrowolski, along with board advisor and M12 executive Catherine Mulachy.

Commendations for transformative industry achievements to increase access for women included the IBM Supplier of the Year Award, Accenture: Innovative Partnership of the Year Award, Microsoft Digital Transformation of the Year Award, M12: Outstanding Leadership Award and Insight Cloud Solution of the Year Award and Meylah Cloud Deal of the Year Award. Women in Cloud also honored two impactful community partners with the Advisor of the Year Award and Investor of the Year Award. The #empowHERaccess Award Ceremony, which took place on July 16th at the #WICxInspire event, awarded eight leaders who facilitated economic access and stable recovery to women in tech.

#empowHERaccess Inaugural Award Winners 2021: 

Accenture: Innovative Partnership of The Year AwardMicrosoft: Digital Transformation of the Year AwardM12: Outstanding Leadership AwardInsight: Cloud Solution Of the Year Award
Sonya Shorey, Invest Ottawa | Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and CommunicationsKathy Durfee, TechHouse | CEO & FounderSara Menker, Gro Intelligence | CEO & FounderSheffie Robinson, Shamrck Education | CEO & Founder
WiC: Advisor of the Year AwardMeylah: Cloud Deal of The Year AwardIBM: Supplier of the Year AwardWiC: Investor of the Year Award
Lisa Opoku, Goldman Sachs | Partner, Chief Operating Officer of EngineeringKaren Fassio, Microsoft | Director, WW Partner MarketingChristine Puccio, F5 | VP, Global Cloud AlliancesSharon Vosmek, Astia | CEO

“The winners of the #empowHERaccess Awards understand that the roadmap to generating infinite economic access is driven by sustainable collective action. Our winners are thought leaders, innovators, and champions of change, and we are proud to be able to celebrate their achievements and work through these awards,” said Chaitra Vedullapalli, CEO and Co-Founder of Women in Cloud.

The #empowerHERaccess Awards will return in 2022, with nominations set to open in January 2022. To learn more about the award winners, please visit the winner page at https://www.womenincloud.com/empowheraccess-inaugural-award-categories/

About the #empowHERaccess Digital Campaign:

#empowHERaccess is an annual digital advocacy campaign by Women in Cloud to generate greater economic access for women in technology. Launched in 2020, the campaign has reached over 600,000 women all around the world. The 2021 #empowHERaccess campaign is bringing together a number of facets to better understand the global crisis this pandemic has created for women entrepreneurs, and celebrate the many stories of pivots and perseverance.

The #empowHERaccess Inaugural Awards recognize the contributions to the cloud ecosystems made by both individuals and organizations, supported by corporate brands such as M12, IBM, Microsoft, Accenture, Insight and Meylah.

For more information, visit: https://www.womenincloud.com/empowheraccess-campaign/