I’ve attended five DWEN summits now (DWEN = Dell Women Entrepreneurs Network) and to me DWEN plays a unique role in the networking and collaboration communities I belong to, and that I find absolutely essential as a female entrepreneur and business woman. It’s the space that is truly global, and delivers incredibly valuable connections to and insights from fellow business women based all around the world.
Delegates to this years summit in San Francisco came from more than 20 countries, representing more than 20 different industries, with their combined businesses generating more than $1.6B USD and employing thousands of people.
The theme for DWEN 2017 was ‘Real Opportunities, Real Solutions’, and for me the event delivered on both fronts. (At this point its appropriate to disclose that I’m part of the DWEN Advisory Board so could be viewed as having a vested interest in promoting the success of the Summit, but conversations with many of my fellow delegates all indicated a similar view so I’m happy to own my view and share the reasons for it here.)
This was the second year that Dell had released its Dell’s Global Women Entrepreneur Cities Index to coincide with the Summit, which assesses a cities ability to attract and foster the growth of women owned businesses in five key categories – capital, technology, talent, culture and markets. The infographic below summarises the results, with full details available via the link here.
Lots of progress being made, but still plenty of real opportunities and a need for real solutions. Brisbane didn’t make the top 50 cut this year (Australia was represented by Sydney in 11th place and Melbourne in 17th) so I’d certainly love to see a change to that in next year’s results!
This year the event also included an ‘Unconference’ session for the first time, where attendees tabled the key issues they would like to discuss and then broke into groups to crowd source the knowledge and experience of the delegates present. The topics were wide and varied, and unsurprisingly included many of the issues identified in the WE Cities research. I sat in sessions which explored how you knew when it was the right time to exit or take in an investor, and there was plenty of excellent discussion and great advice exchanged.
This YouTube clip is a great representation of some of the conference highlights,
and this year again included a Girls Track, which Sascha was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in.
Highlights of the Girls Track sessions can be seen here.
As always the Aussies made up a strong and vocal contingent, and it was great to renew old friendships and make new ones. Huge thanks to Dell for an another fantastic summit, where a week out from the event the connections I made are already delivering new opportunities for partnerships, collaborations and potential investments. Watch this space for updates on those!