Mar 082013



So it’s international women’s day.

As Adam Roberts says, I’m not so worried about that as there are 364 International Men’s Days.

We’ve been thinking about women a lot at Bethnal Green Ventures. We’ve taken the apparently controversial decision to state “We particularly welcome applications from women” during our call for ideas.

We’ve received a bit of feedback on that from sources which we wouldn’t expect. Mostly the question has been “why?”


We had a tiny number of applications including women founders in our last round, despite a very inclusive & gender-balanced history with Social Innovation CampsAsking for women to apply means they’ll apply.

Women-run businesses tend to be lower risk, manage cash well, and perform better.
Women are underrepresented in tech.

More diverse workforces and teams perform better.

I also want to plug my friend Tom’s blog post here about “boy books versus girl books” as a symptom of something wrong.

Just a few amazing women

I’d like to take this opportunity as well to point out a few amazing women I’m fortunate.

My grandmother, Sybil Gassen (I have to start here, obviously). Tirelessly helping everyone out, family and friends.

Sarah and Lauren from Snook. These women came from nowhere and work hard, for far less money, to change the world they work in. They’re clever, intelligent, and don’t say no for an answer.

Pam Jenkins has done more to encourage me towards a clear, evidence-based critical thought than anyone. Go to New Orleans and take her courses.

Kath Hibbert takes time out of her daily life to help people get new projects off the ground. She’s kind, clever, and passionate.

My colleague Lily Ash Sakula is a clear thinker & keeps SICamp & BGV on track. She’s creative, a solid critical thinker, and she sticks up for what she believes in – and reminds me to do the same.

Denise Stephens runs Enabled by Design, helping to make assistive technologies a little bit better each day.

Clare Gallagher puts up with me, all while doing really fascinating research into language and perception.