Tech’s Best Young (Male) Entrepreneurs

I stumbled over a post on the re:invention Marketing blog (a toolbox for & about enterprising women) about BusinessWeek’s recent article on tech entrepreneurs under the age of 30.  Kirsten Osolind points out that of the 16 “cutting edge entrepreneurs under 30” that were highlighted, none were women (ok – two were women – Sandy Jan and Elaine Wherry – of Meebo.)  I forwarded this to Lucy Sanders, the CEO of National Center for Women & Information Technology – and she logically responded “well Brad – blog about it.”  Interestingly, the ratio (2:16 or 12.5%) is about the same ratio of high school girls to boys that take the AP Computer Science test.

  • You weren’t accurate on your reporting as it didn’t say “cutting edge entrepreneurs under 30” in a vacuum, rather it said in the healine “Tech’s Best Young Entrepreneurs” and then the words:

    “Under 30, on the Cutting Edge”

    “This crop of fresh faces is poised to shake up the tech world. Here’s their advice to wannabe entrepreneurs.”

    The point is that if it were disconnected to tech, then I could see there being more of an issue, but when you leave the word “tech” out, or quote Kirsten Osolind, who left it out, when it was mentioned twice, right above and below it, it makes it sound like something it isn’t.

    Like you said, “Interestingly, the ratio (2:16 or 12.5%) is about the same ratio of high school girls to boys that take the AP Computer Science test.”

    It’s more than interesting, it’s simply the facts. These types of figures will remain like this until there is more of an interest by young women in this field.

  • Gary – I’m not 100% sure I understood your first comment. However, I changed the BusinessWeek link to include “tech” although my title clearly had “tech” in it.

    I completely agree with your last point. That’s why I’m chairman of The National Center for Women and Information Technology as we are trying to directly address the issue of getting women of all ages more involved in the IT / computer science field.

  • I would double dog swear that the original photo montage (which I scanned 5 minutes after its wire release) only included Seth Sternberg. Get a load of that photo huh – Seth sandwiched between two brilliant tech chicks. Still, I stand corrected and have updated my original post.

    Yes, women are less likely to start tech companies because they often don’t have relevant backgrounds. According to the American Society for Engineering Education, just 20 percent of students enrolled in engineering schools in 2005 were female. Less than 40% of all science undergrad degrees go to women. And women only represent 10% of all engineers in the workforce (down from 11% in 1998).

    My point — if we want to remedy the paucity of high-tech women entrepreneurs and executives we need to provide young women with mentors, actively recruit them into the high-tech insiders community, and find a way to make tech cool. BusinessWeek reporters need to find the under 30 high-tech superstar women, portray them as role models, and showcase them as the epitome of cool. BusinessWeek ***COULD*** have found more young women to profile via WTC or CWET (respected women’s incubators) or any of a number of esteemed VC firms or university commercialization departments.

    In the end, it isn’t just a gender issue. Science and tech has become tiringly uncool (Boys are turning away from science as much as girls and the U.S. ranks below 13 other countries in the percentage of 24-year-olds with a math or science degree).


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