Women-led firms generate more than $1 trillion for the U.S. economy, but the women who lead them face a gender bias when securing funding to start and grow their own companies. It’s a phenomenon two Richmond researchers have dubbed “the second glass ceiling.”
“There’s a pattern of very highly skilled, knowledgeable, wise women who face struggles in corporate America and then bail,” said management professor Doug Bosse. “They think, ‘I hit the glass ceiling in that organization,’ and so they say, ‘Well, maybe I can do this myself; I’ll start my own business.’ And then they experience [the glass ceiling] again in a slightly different form as entrepreneurs.”
Silicon Valley has noticed, too. Two developers contacted Bosse and his research partner, Porcher Taylor III, also a management professor, and used their research as the basis for a new mobile app. Called SWYK — Sharing Wisdom and Your Knowledge — it “connects female founders with the wisdom of peers, experts, and resources to help them launch and grow their businesses,” said Marynn Garabedian, one of the developers.
The professors give the app high marks. “The fact that the app is live, the fact that they’re actively building the network, I can’t think of any downsides to what they’re doing,” Bosse said.