All entrepreneurs face challenges as they look to found and scale their startups, but with female-founded startups receiving only 2.2% of venture capital funding, the obstacles that women-led businesses face are often much larger.
“We have less network, especially in venture capital and banking, or in one sentence: less access to financial sources,” said Yael Alter, co-founder and CEO of 2020 Grow-NY grand prize winner Soos Technology. “That is the biggest challenge as a woman.”
Over its first four years, Grow-NY has worked to help lessen this gap, with 38% of applicants in 2022 including a female founder and 75% featuring a founder from an underrepresented minority group. With one of the six competition judging criteria requiring that applicants demonstrate inclusion or plans for inclusion of employees and advisors from communities that have historically been excluded from the innovation economy, such as women and minorities, Grow-NY is helping to create a space where women entrepreneurs in the food and ag tech industries can achieve their startup goals.
AgFunderNews recently sat down with three female founders that have gone through the Grow-NY program to discuss their experiences as agrifoodtech entrepreneurs and how the competition positively influenced their startups. Hear Trish Thomas and Nichole Wilson, co-founders of 2021 Grow-NY $1 million winner Every Body Eat, Jenny Lemieux, co-founder and CEO of 2022 winner Vivid Machines, and Alter tell their stories.
Applications for the 2023 Grow-NY competition are currently open. Apply by June 15 at 5 p.m. ET.