I want to acknowledge that as white woman I have an enormous amount of privilege simply because of the color of my skin. I grew up in a middle-class family and my sister and I were fortunate enough to go to really good public schools. Great enough, in fact, to offer me all the AP classes I needed, with teachers who prepared me well enough to earn top marks, and thus get a scholarship to Vanderbilt. That I was able to make my way from Snellville, GA to Wall Street on scholarships and cold interviews was no doubt influenced by the color of my skin. I want to wholeheartedly recognize this. And this brings me to why I am starting an incubator with a single requirement for entry, which is to show up and try your best.
I feel a sense of responsibility and deep admiration for folks who are showing up, but due to forces outside of their control, do not have access to the resources, contacts and knowledge to help them realize their goals. As I mentioned in my previous article, the hurdles to women starting their own businesses are very real. But furthermore, what I’ve come to understand and realize over the past several months is the reality of the barrier not only for women, but for any member of a non-culturally dominant group who is trying to break into the startup ecosystem.
The world of Angels and VCs is full of acronyms and “warm intros” (i.e. you have to know someone to introduce you even to get in the door). What underpins this all is the requirement to have an overwhelming and unwavering belief in your highest value, and to pitch yourself on this basis. Well, for the majority of those in non-culturally dominant groups, that type of confidence doesn’t just naturally ooze out.
This Incubator program is a launchpad meant to boost women into a valuable network of mentors, investors, and other founders. I am fortunate enough to be part of an amazing Angel network of female investors who also believe in this mission and who will be supporting our incubator with pitching opportunities, their time and their invaluable feedback. In addition, I’m creating this program to share everything I’ve learned from my years of experience in advising folks in tech and finance; and the personal insights I’ve gained from years of creating successful businesses, sitting on startup boards, participating in successful fundraising rounds, and being an active Angel investor myself. All that I ask is that you are committed to doing your best. And showing up.
If you have an idea for a business, or if you’ve already launched and you truly want to get to that next milestone (e.g. pre-seed, seed, or even Series A and beyond), all I ask if that you are committed to showing up. I am committed to helping you get the knowledge, resources and contacts.
If money is an issue (we are charging only enough to cover our systems and pay our coordinating team) – let us know. The most important, and only requirement, is to show up and give it your all.
Join us. I cannot wait to watch you grow.
Find out more and apply as a founder or investor/mentor/scholarship sponsor here: https://www.fehligadvisory.com/digital-incubator