It is no secret that the tech sector is a male-dominated industry. According to a report published by PwC about women in tech, just 15% of the people working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) roles in the United Kingdom are women—and only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.
The tech scene in the Asia-Pacific region also has a serious lack of gender diversity. Even though there are more organisational and government initiatives nowadays that promote gender equality, there is still plenty to be done.
With that mission in mind, Simona Ventures, a platform that provides access and opportunities to empower businesses that solve gender gap challenges, announced the first batch of startups that are part of the APAC Women Founders Accelerator, organized in conjunction with Digitaraya, an accelerator that is supported by the Google Developers Launchpad.
“Although Indonesia has made good progress in the digital landscape over the past years, one thing that hasn’t progressed much is the number of women in the leadership and decision-makers position,” Simona Ventures managing partner Putri Izzati said to KrASIA. “Simona Ventures aims to tackle the issue of gender inequality by advancing women leaders through investment and network support,” she continued.
The program selected 11 women-led startups from countries across the APAC region. They hail from different backgrounds and industry verticals, including artificial intelligence, human resources, retail, insurance, and e-commerce.
Both Digitaraya and Simona Ventures believe that the presence of women leaders generate higher productivity as they induce efficiency in their teams. “Women founders could be very successful, but the environment in tech industry doesn’t really support them to thrive, so we feel that it is important to create an environment where women have the same opportunity as men to showcase their strength,” Digitaraya vice president of strategy and business development Nicole Yap told KrASIA.
During the three-day Bootcamp held between March 25 and 27, the participants received mentoring sessions from experts and key players in the industry and connected with local community leaders and fellow startup founders.
The program ended with a demo day, where startups pitched their products to the jury panel for the opportunity to participate in an immersive program in Seoul in May 2019, with support from Google for Startups. Two startups were selected for the trip to South Korea—an eyewear e-commerce platform named Glazziq from Thailand and a crowdsourcing app named Snooper from Australia.
Simona Ventures and Digitaraya are committed to supporting the participants after the program concludes. They will serve as launch partners for the startups that plan to expand their businesses into Indonesia.
“This is a start of our long-term commitment to advance women leaders in the industry. We’ll continue working with strategic partners to build pipelines and find leads to empower more women founders and inspire the next generation of women entrepreneurs,” Izzati said.
KrASIA is a media partner for the APAC Women Founders Accelerator.