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Startup Women, UP Global’s latest initiative, is a comprehensive effort supported by The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Google for Entrepreneurs to reach more female entrepreneurs and support their endeavors across all of UP Global’s programs, which include Startup Weekend, NEXT and StartupDigest. A total of $150,000 has been allocated to the project to date for 2014 efforts. The initiative is taking on a broad approach that includes highlighting and telling the stories of well known and lesser known successful women entrepreneurs from across the world, special events, and localized Startup Weekend “Women’s Edition” events.

At the first Women’s Edition event in 2009, which was co-hosted by Women 2.0, 19 teams formed and at least three are still working on their projects.  One participant, Alexa Andrzejewski, pitched an idea that became the company Foodspotting – and before the end of the weekend, she had received $5K in funding. Alexa was the guest speaker at the 2011 Women’s Edition in San Francisco, and she recently sold Foodspotting to OpenTable for $10 Million.

In 2011, Adriana Moscatelli launched what is now “Play Works Studio” at Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in Seattle. Her vision is to design games that encourage children, especially girls, to discover a passion for science. Today, the startup is backed with grant support from the National Science Foundation and Moscatelli hopes to have products available by next year.

Although Women’s Edition events have historically provided a unique starting point for women to build a stronger entrepreneurial network and launch new ideas, Startup Women aims to take on a more holistic stance that builds off of the momentum of these events, providing additional resources and opportunities that will span the entrepreneur’s journey. Additional focuses for the initiative include special events, network-building resources, and amplified storytelling.


This year, Startup Women is setting some major goals for women in entrepreneurship: 

  • Support the creation of over 1,500 female-led startups this year

  • Host a minimum of 10 Startup Weekend Women’s Edition events in the U.S. and 5 abroad

  • Create an active advisory board for Startup Women efforts

  • Reach 100,000 new female entrepreneurs through StartupDigest

  • Amplify the stories of female entrepreneurs on a National scale through multimedia storytelling

  • Connect female founders and entrepreneurs through social media, special events, and new opportunities

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How you can get involved: 

  • Sign up for the StartupDigest Women in Entrepreneurship reading list to stay up to date

  • Share stories: send us your best female founder stories or write for blog.up.co

  • Organize a Women’s Edition event in your area

Upcoming Startup Women events and more:

  • StartupDigest Women in Entrepreneurship Reading List opens – TODAY

  • Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in Kiev, Ukraine – March 25th

  • SXSW Startup Women night – March 9th (RSVP here)

  • Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in Tokyo, Japan – March 14th

  • Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in João Pessoa/Paraíba, Brasil – March 14th

  • Startup Weekend Women’s Edition in Melbourne, Australia – April 25th

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 More about The Blackstone Charitable Organization:

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced that it has awarded grants totaling $1.6 million to seventeen non-profit organizations. The grants were made through the Blackstone Organizational Grants Program, an annual program targeting organizations that focus on fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, now in its second year. Through this program, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is helping innovative organizations pilot, expand or replicate projects or programs that will catalyze the growth of successful businesses, industries, and communities in their regions. Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, says; “We are proud to be able to provide this year’s grant recipients with the resources they need to expand the reach of their programs both within their regions and beyond. As we continue to focus on building a robust network of entrepreneurial activity across the nation and globally, we are pleased to extend funding to this year’s recipients, who have shown immense potential and innovation in the area of entrepreneurship.”

More about Google’s #40Forward Campaign:

While women are starting companies at 1.5 times the national average, in the startup sphere, women are poorly represented in accelerators, co-working spaces and tech events around the world. In hopes of sparking change, Google for Entrepreneurs launched a challenge to startup and entrepreneur organizations to create new innovative programs to increase the representation and advance women in their local communities. We are incredibly excited to announce that 40 organizations took the challenge to rethinking the gender gap.  Google for Entrepreneurs is dedicating $1million toward this effort.  To learn more about these programs and our partners, checkout the hashtag #40forward or visit google.com/entrepreneurs.

Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian