Spurring the Rise of Women Entrepreneurs
female students completed entrepreneurship courses
women founders of tech-based start-ups received mentoring support
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields are key drivers of innovation, economic growth, and social progress. When coupled with entrepreneurial skills, STEM innovations can turn into highgrowth companies that offer solutions to pressing societal challenges and create jobs. While the gender gap in STEM education and careers remains, women entrepreneurs in STEM have been on the rise in Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years thanks to initiatives such as the IDB Lab-supported WISE program (Women in STEM Entrepreneurship; RG-T3019). Led by IAE Business School in Argentina, in partnership with business schools in Colombia, Peru, and most recently, Ecuador, WISE aims to help women studying and working in STEM fields start new ventures through training, mentoring, networking, and business support.
Since 2018, over 350 female students have completed in-person entrepreneurship courses and the program has offered mentoring support to nearly 100 women founders of tech-based startups. In 2019, in addition to launching a comprehensive online platform with resources for women STEM entrepreneurs, IAE Business School developed a free online entrepreneurship course on Coursera, further expanding its reach. The program also has a strong knowledge sharing focus. In 2019, it carried out a study and survey with over 600 respondents, painting a clearer picture of the needs and characteristics of women STEM entrepreneurs in the region, information that can help further spur the upward trajectory of this burgeoning area of entrepreneurship.