Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business, where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. My guest today is Elizabeth Gore, Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Dell and Chair of the Circular Summit, the exciting event that we’re coming to you from. Elizabeth, welcome to Women Mean Business.
Elizabeth: Great to be here, Leisa. Thank you for having me.
Leisa: I’m honored to have you. I want to know so much. Tell me about Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Dell, and then we’re going to talk about the Circular Summit.
Elizabeth: Sure. Well, I get the great honor of working with Dell technologies, and Michael Dell, on how do we as a company really advocate for entrepreneurs. So, we always consider entrepreneurship as one of the most important ecosystems on the planet, to drive social change, to have job creation, and then specifically one of the things I love is they are really creating the most sustainable solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. So, at Dell our objective is really to look at how do we help them scale those big ideas, whether it’s through technology, good policies, access to capital, you name it. So, I kind of get to be the mouthpiece for entrepreneurship.
Leisa: It’s almost like you’re the Dell investment banker, or something, or the VC.
Elizabeth: Well, we really look at entrepreneurship as a whole, so what are the platforms that are promoting massive amounts of entrepreneurs? So, we love looking at accelerators and groups like the Circular Board is a great group for women. We look at groups like Bunker Labs who are helping the 900 veterans a week, just here in Central Texas, that are coming home to start their businesses. So, what we do is just really look at the platforms that we can invest in that then has a multiplier effect for all entrepreneurs.
Leisa: I’m curious to know, I mean, and this is a personal curiosity, but the whole accelerator collaborative space, the movement is huge. How many accelerators do you see in a month?
Elizabeth: Well, it’s interesting because it is a growing movement, and it’s an important one. Entrepreneurship is lonely and hard, and the idea of being in either a physical space or a learning environment where you can have other peers, that peer-to-peer mentorship on, what are the hurdles that you’re going through, what are the challenges we face, can we help each other, is very important to the long term success of entrepreneurship. However, there are also digital ecosystems; its not just about being in person. So, what is the connective tissue between entrepreneurs as well with, you know, this wonderful technology we have now that accesses all information. So, we really look at both physical learning environments but also digital learning environments.
Leisa: That’s really awesome. So, what led you to the Circular Summit? Tell me about that.
Elizabeth: We have a business objective of working with women entrepreneurs and a social objective. So, women are starting, as you probably know best, almost 1,400 businesses a day in the United States. They are starting things twice as fast as their male counterparts. That’s an important business objective for us to ensure they have the technology they need to scale their companies. So, the second reason is women put 90% of their income back in their communities and families, so from a social standpoint beyond the economic standpoint, that is really important for our society. So, Michael made a commitment almost 15 years ago, to really understand how do we work with women, but also how do we help systems that are going to help them scale. So, Dell has the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, and we’ve partnered with the Circular Board now for two years to really provide that access to technology, and capital, and knowledge that we have, and in turn, frankly, because the Circular Board is digital, we have also learned a lot. So, it’s a place for us to listen to entrepreneurs as well; not just technology needs but also represent them on policy needs, help them open markets, because we’re in 161 countries. So, it’s been really great and the Summit, the Circular Summit, I have a personal passion because I’m from Houston and the founder, Carolyn Rodz, is from Houston and not a single woman got series A funding in the state of Texas last year.
Elizabeth: Absolutely. Yet, this state has so much to offer entrepreneurs. So, I think if we can really show the world that women entrepreneurs can also thrive here it will bring more capital, more investment, so we’re really proud that the Circular Summit was in Houston this year.
Leisa: Thank you very much.
Elizabeth: My pleasure. My pleasure.
Leisa: There you have it, another extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Astoundz, your one click, one search, one company resource for all things interactive; website, search engine optimization and social media. You can find me at astoundz.com or follow me on Twitter @lhnelson. We’ll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.
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