New Dell Research Ranks 10 Cities Globally On Ability To Foster Women Entrepreneurship

Reveals rankings and provides recommended blueprint action plans for Austin, Boston, Mexico City, Toronto, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Singapore 

TORONTO – July 16, 2018

News summary

  • Dell advises city leaders, entrepreneurs and policy-makers on how to improve conditions that enable women-owned firms to thrive
  • Developed a deep dive analysis on the barriers and opportunities for women entrepreneurs accessing Capital and leveraging Technology to scale
  • Revealed 10 Women Entrepreneur (WE) City Blueprints designed to spotlight actions a city can take to improve the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs
  • The Dell WE Cities Index is the only global, gender-specific index that looks at a city’s ability to attract and retain women entrepreneurs

Full story

At the 9th annual Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit (DWEN) kicking off today in Toronto, Dell unveiled new diagnostic tools for local governments and policymakers to help enable women entrepreneurs to succeed.

Built on the findings of the 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index Dell, with research partner IHS Markit conducted a deep-dive analysis’ on the barriers and opportunities for women entrepreneurs accessing capital and leveraging technology to scale. Dell also developed 10 city blueprints designed to spotlight actions a city can take to improve the local ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.

“Women’s entrepreneurship rates rose globally by 13 percent in 2017, reflecting broader momentum of increased female representation across the public and private sectors in many regions around the world. However, access to capital and technology, as well as cultural and political barriers, continue to limit the success of women-owned businesses,” said Karen Quintos, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Dell. “With the release of the WE City Deep Dives and Blueprints, city leaders and policymakers can confidently move from ‘analysis to action,’ accelerating positive change that allows women entrepreneurs to thrive – which benefits local communities, wider society and the global economy.”

“According to extensive data and analysis, when barriers to women entrepreneurship are removed, there is a dramatic uplift in a city’s economic prospects,” said Cris Turner, vice president of Government Affairs at Dell. “The WE City Deep Dives and Blueprints offer insights on what cities on the list can learn from one-another and encourage political action to attract and support women entrepreneurs at the local level.” 

WE City Blueprints

The WE City Blueprints look at areas of strength and areas of improvement to provide city leaders and policymakers with data-driven research and recommendations on how to foster high-potential women entrepreneurs. Blueprint cities include:

  • Austin
  • Boston
  • Mexico City
  • Toronto
  • London
  • Amsterdam
  • Sydney
  • Tokyo
  • Sao Paulo
  • Singapore

WE City Capital and Technology Deep Dives

Capital and technology are critical for scaling any business, but women face unique challenges with both. In 2017, only 2 percent of venture funding went to female founders. Based on the qualitative analysis of the WE Cities Index and insights from members of the DWEN network, many women entrepreneurs are not leveraging innovative technologies to scale their businesses. The WE City Capital and Technology deep dives uncover:

  • How women entrepreneurs are accessing capital, using technology
  • How different regions are accessing different sources of capital, using technology
  • Industries that women entrepreneurs gravitate towards and how it impacts access to capital and technology
  • How access to capital and use of technology differ across leading cities

 WE Cities Ranking and Methodology

Built on the past six years of Dell research on High Potential Women Entrepreneurs (HPWE), cities were ranked on five important characteristics: capital, technology, talent, culture and markets. These pillars were organized into two groups — operating environment and enabling environment. The overall rating is based on 72 indicators; 45 of these (nearly two-thirds) have a gender-based component. Individual indicators were weighted based on four criteria: relevance, quality of underlying data, uniqueness in the index and gender component.

The 50 cities were ranked as follows:

  1. New York City
  2. Bay Area
  3. London
  4. Boston
  5. Stockholm
  6. Los Angeles
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Singapore
  9. Toronto
  10. Seattle
  11. Sydney
  12. Paris
  13. Chicago
  14. Minneapolis
  15. Austin
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Melbourne
  18. Atlanta
  19. Amsterdam
  20. Portland (OR)
  21. Berlin
  22. Taipei
  23. Pittsburgh
  24. Tel Aviv
  25. Copenhagen
  26. Vancouver
  27. Houston
  28. Johannesburg
  29. Barcelona
  30. Seoul
  31. Munich
  32. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
  33. Nairobi
  34. Dublin
  35. Warsaw
  36. Belfast
  37. Milan
  38. Beijing
  39. Tokyo
  40. Bangalore
  41. Kuala Lumpur
  42. Sao Paulo
  43. Dubai
  44. Shanghai
  45. Mexico City
  46. Lima
  47. Guadalajara
  48. Istanbul
  49. Delhi
  50. Jakarta

About the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and Annual Summit

As the visionary outcome of a true entrepreneur, Dell is committed to help power the success of entrepreneurs by developing technology solutions that enable human potential. Through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell supports and nurtures a community of female entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, networks and capital.

Dell is excited to host the 9th annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) Summit in Toronto from July 15-17, 2018. More than 150 female founders, CEOs, dignitaries, Dell Leaders and more will convene to connect and discuss today’s pressing topics. Through inspiring keynotes, informative panels and innovative workshops, the 2018 DWEN Summit will be the go-to resource for support and solutions that facilitate entrepreneurship. It is Dell’s mission to bring vital knowledge and tailored technology for women-led companies small and large.

About Dell Inc.

Dell Inc., a part of Dell Technologies, provides customers of all sizes – including 99 percent of the Fortune 500 – with a broad, innovative portfolio from edge to core to cloud. Dell Inc. comprises Dell client as well as Dell EMC infrastructure offerings that enable organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center while providing today’s workforce and consumers what they need to securely connect, produce, and collaborate from anywhere at any time.




New York City Comptroller: Lack Of Diversity, Bad For Business

NYC comptroller

By Scott M. Stringer

Dear Friend —

The lack of diversity in the corporate world, especially at the top, is no secret.

Just two years ago, only 21% of boardroom members at S&P 500 companies were women, 7% were African American, and Hispanic or Asian American board members each only accounted for 3% of board members.

These disparities aren’t just wrong, they’re bad for business. Often, they’re the result of board elections that are more like coronations of the same old board, again and again.

As a long-term investor in thousands of major U.S. companies, we have a stake in making sure these companies are strong for decades to come. And the fact is, corporate boards with independent and high quality directors from diverse backgrounds are better for the long-term success of our portfolio companies.

That’s why we launched the Boardroom Accountability Project – to shake up corporate culture and strengthen the companies in our portfolio.

In 2014, we made our first push for reforms. We called on companies to establish “Proxy Access,” a powerful tool which gives long-term investors the ability to nominate boardroom directors. In only three years, our push brought Proxy Access from just six, to over 520 U.S. companies – and it’s now the market standard.

On the heels of this success, we took another step forward by launching Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0 – a nationwide call for transparency and refreshment in the boardroom.

We engaged companies to release data on the gender, race, and skill composition of the corporate board, and put this information in a “matrix” table, to give investors a bird’s eye view of the quality, diversity, and independence of board members.

Historically, this information is rarely – if ever – made public. But in less than a year since we launched, we’re already seeing unprecedented results:

  • Over 35 companies are now telling us not only the skills of those making important oversight decisions for the company, but also details about both the gender and race/ethnicity of their directors.
  • Dozens of companies are publicly committing to include women and people of color in the candidate pool for every future board search.
  • And these conversations are changing boardroom culture in a real way. Since this initiative began, 49 of the companies we targeted have elected 59 new, diverse, and high quality candidates.

These issues are too important to ignore. There is simply no excuse for companies to hide information about who is sitting around their boardroom tables and not to embrace the highest board quality and diversity for their companies and their investors.

But these steps forward are encouraging. They show that the corporate world is starting to hear what investors have known all along: being transparent and inclusive is not just the right thing to do – it’s a strategy for financial success.

I’ll keep you posted,


Take The Meeting: A Fresh Approach To Time Management

By Peter J. Strauss

As a business owner, you know that your time is your most valuable resource. As a result, you make every effort to control it. You say no to meetings and cut extraneous obligations. You have strategies to help you stay focused, avoiding all distraction and interruption. You have systems in place so that you can diligently—even relentlessly—tackle the items on your to-do list. Yet there still do not seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done.

What if I told you that there is another way to approach time? Rather than attempting to control it, what if you decide to flow with it? I learned early on that a key to success is being able to adapt to new information as it comes in. Each moment has the potential to provide the gift of new insight and solutions to problems. But in order to benefit from them, you have got to give yourself time to take in the new information, process and integrate it, then develop an action plan. You have to flow with time, not attempt to control it.

You may be thinking, “Sounds great, Peter, but where do I start?”

Read the full article at

19th Edition IBM Global C-Suite Study Results Released

Digital transformation is affecting businesses. But it’s not a heart-stopping shakeup. It’s an eye-open- ing opportunity. Find new paths to Digital Reinvention(TM) in the 19th edition of the IBM Global C-suite Study. Based on conversations with 12,854 CxOs worldwide, it’s the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind ever done.
Explore the study to understand four imperatives critical to every business leader — the power of inno- vative incumbents, new standards for customer-centricity, the case for platform business models, and strategies for forming your own agile enterprise. Apply these new insights to reinvent and outperform.

See how leading companies — the Reinventors — apply these insights to thrive in the digital era, in four chapters:

• Dancing with disruption – Incumbents hit their stride
• Trust in the journey – The path to personalization
• Orchestrating the future – The pull of platform business models
• Innovation in motion – Agility for the enterprise

You can listen to the results Webcast and view the  Presentation Slides. You can get a download of the full C-suite study at this link:

If you would like more information or to get a bound copy of the study sent to you, please contact Cathy Floyd

Survey: Female Founders Are (Finally) Paying Themselves More


By Marsha Firestone and Lisa Schiffman 

Nashville-based entrepreneur Sherry Deutschmann built her company, LetterLogic, into an enterprise with $40 million in revenue before selling it to a private equity firm in 2016. As the firm’s founder, Deutschmann went seven years without giving herself a raise, and paid herself the relatively low amount of $225,000, even after the company crossed $30 million in sales. Her board encouraged her to finally take a pay hike. She says “Absolutely, it’s the truth” that men she knows in comparable positions paid themselves more. And she wonders now if this hurt her.

“Interestingly, when I sold my company, I suspect that the PE firm who bought us thought less of my business acumen…simply because I was paying myself about half what my male counterpart was making,” Deutschmann said in an interview. “It didn’t matter that I was running a faster-growing company and had zero debt. They likely devalued my leadership abilities because I had unwittingly devalued myself by not paying myself enough.”

She’s not alone: Prior studies have found that female founders are reluctant to pay themselves as much as their male counterparts choose to pay themselves.

But recent research shows this may be changing.

In the Business Outlook Survey, conducted annually by EY and the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a global education and advocacy group, we ask WPO members and participants in EY’s global Entrepreneurial Winning Women program a slew of questions about their work and wages, growth aspirations, concerns, and opportunities. In the survey just completed this spring, we found some encouraging signs: Women planned to give themselves solid raises in the coming year.

Read more here.

How I Turned a Crisis Into a Brand-Defining Moment

by Sarah LaFleur, Guest Writer,

In 2011, I left my private equity job to start my own company, with the goal of making it easier for professional women to shop and dress for work. I knew that getting the business off the ground would require hard work, but I (naively) assumed it would be straightforward. Having seen the success of other hot direct-to-consumer startups, I thought that if I followed their formula of making beautiful products, pricing them reasonably and selling them through an ecommerce site, we would see instant success. I was wrong.

When we launched our website in 2013, we excitedly waited for the orders to roll in. Instead — crickets. We didn’t see any traction: No one was visiting our site, and we didn’t have a marketing budget, so acquiring customers was difficult. I realized then that other ecommerce models weren’t particularly relevant for us. We needed to go back to the drawing board when it came to how we were selling our product.

About a year after launching our site, our sales were still lagging. One day, I walked into our inventory room, and saw that it was packed with product we were struggling to sell. I thought, We are going to die under a mountain of dresses.

In an act of desperation, my six-person team and I decided to be more proactive about getting women to give us a try. We emailed our customer list, saying, “Can we send you a box of styles, and you can keep the ones you like and return the ones you don’t? You don’t have to pay anything up front.” A surprising percentage of customers responded “yes” to that email, and we made more money in that one week than we ever had in one month.

That experience led to an epiphany: Our customer is too busy to shop. Typical ecommerce websites are overwhelming to her. She comes home after a long day of decision-making at work, and the last thing she wants to do is figure out what size to order, or if a particular silhouette will complement her body shape. She wants to outsource that decision-making to someone else. So, rather than expecting her to browse online, we developed a styling service just for her: Our Bento Box program was born.

When we launched this service, our revenue tripled overnight, and we’ve grown steadily ever since via that and other channels. What began as a crisis soon became a brand-defining moment. We realized that it wasn’t enough to get the product right. We also had to rethink the entire shopping process and adapt it for our customer’s specific needs and lifestyle. How we sold our products mattered just as much as the products themselves.

Thanks to that desperate moment in our tiny fulfillment center, we realized that what our customer needed was not just a beautiful dress, but a styling service that would help her save time. Once we understood that, we configured our whole business around serving her, both online and offline. Ever since, MM.LaFleur has been synonymous with both beautiful clothes and stellar service.

I always tell early stage entrepreneurs that your darkest moments can often yield game-changing breakthroughs. Ours forced us to stretch ourselves and challenge our assumptions about who we were. It wasn’t an influx of funding that helped us turn things around — it was our ability to get creative within major constraints. Now, when we face a challenge, we always think back to that moment in 2014 and remember: Constraint breeds creativity. You never know when your next breakthrough is right around the corner.

20180514212247-121917-MMLaFleur28074Sarah Miyazawa LaFleur is founder and CEO of MM.LaFleur. Before founding MM.LaFleur, LaFleur worked in the luxury goods group of Starwood Capital in New York and Paris. Prior to that, she was a management consultant at Bain & Co. and TechnoServe, where she advised consumer packaged goods and financial services companies as well as agribusinesses. She graduated from Harvard and sits on the junior board of the International Rescue Committee. MM.LaFleur is named after her mother, whom she calls her biggest inspiration.

How I Overcame Losing One of My Biggest Customers

by Kara Goldin, Guest Writer,

When Starbucks pulled my product, I had to scramble to find a replacement.

As an outsider in the beverage industry trying to find a way to reach more consumers, landing my product in Starbucks stores was a huge win. It also seemed like a natural fit, as Starbucks at the time was looking for healthier bottled drink options.

The partnership was initially planned to start with a limited launch of our blackberry flavor in 500 stores, which would have been significant for us at the time. But, shortly before launch, Starbucks decided to go even bigger, placing our product in 11,000 stores across the country.

I was ecstatic, but we had a major operational hurdle to overcome: Before selling to Starbucks, we had to actually produce the product and get it ready in time for each major shipment. That also meant we had to pay for each large order up front.

It was stressful, but we were eager for the opportunity to share hint water with a wider audience — so the team and I rolled up our sleeves and made it happen.

The difference one call can make

Things were going great as new consumers began to discover and enjoy our product for the first time. We had set up weekly sales goals that we consistently surpassed. This is how it went for about a year, and I felt like we had settled into a great rhythm.

Then, as we were preparing our next huge order for shipment, I got the shock of a lifetime. Starbucks called and said that it had shifted its business strategy and would begin filling its cases with more food and fewer beverages. Our product would be removed from stores within a week.

I’m not one to cry very often, but this seemed like the right occasion to make an exception. We had a warehouse full of product we had paid for, with no idea what we were going to do with it. To say that it was a scary moment is an understatement. While logically I knew this was something that was completely out of our control, it felt like a failure. Starbucks was a huge platform for us that was performing very well, so to lose that partnership was devastating.

Once I had the chance to collect myself, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that all was not lost and I still had a great product that consumers loved. I firmly believe that when one door closes another door opens, so while the task of finding a home for the Starbucks shipment that amounted to six months worth of product seemed daunting, I knew we could do it. I was determined not to give up, and immediately began looking for alternatives to our partnership with Starbucks.

Just a couple weeks later, I got another call — this time, from Amazon. The ecommerce site wanted to sell hint water and requested a large product order within just a few weeks. As fate would have it we happened to have a lot of blackberry hint on-hand and ready to ship. When I asked the buyer how he knew about us, he told me he had seen hint at Starbucks. This brought everything full circle and made it clear that everything has its purpose, and while the relationship with Starbucks may have been short-lived it had a very big impact.

Finding light in adversity

Selling on Amazon worked out great, and continues to be big piece of our business. Our customers loved the online access to our product, and a few years later it led us to launch our own direct-to-consumer business, which has been a huge revenue driver. It has also helped us foster even closer relationships with our customers, which informs every decision we make, since at the end of the day we are here to make our customers lives better.

Starbucks was great for sales, but it was even better for broadening our awareness. While the short-term “failure” of losing that deal was hard to swallow, ultimately it opened up so many doors and pushed us to try a new way of doing things.

This experience reinforced my belief that everything in life is connected and happens for a reason. When something bad happens, you have to hope to find the light in it and keep moving forward until you discover why things happened the way they did. Every fall is an opportunity to get up and try something new and better.

I learned that when things get challenging as an entrepreneur, don’t give up on your dream — instead, find a way to see the opportunity in the chaos and challenge of a difficult situation.

20180219193508-DSC-13152Kara Goldin is the founder and CEO of hint, a healthy lifestyle brand that produces delicious, unsweetened flavored water, as well as a fruit-infused sunscreen spray that is oxybenzone and paraben-free. She recently launched the podcast Unstoppable, where she interviews inspiring entrepreneurs. She is a guest writer for Entrepreneur.