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More visibility for entrepreneurial & technical women. For event managers - less hassle finding women speakers for panels & events
More visibility for entrepreneurial & technical women. For event managers - less hassle finding women speakers for panels & events
More visibility for entrepreneurial & technical women. For event managers - less hassle finding women speakers for panels & events
235 backers pledged $22,917 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Innovation Women: Technical & Entrepreneurial Speakers

$22,917

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Innovation Women: Promoting gender-balanced speaker panels at trade shows, conferences and events. Help more women get invited to speak and share their expertise.

The Problems:

Too many conferences, seminars, meetups and other events look like this (below) …especially in the technical and entrepreneurial space. They still have all (or mostly) male panels, speakers and keynotes. The perspective is too one dimensional.   

Event producers and managers have trouble finding good female speakers beyond a few regulars. Event managers often look at other events to find good speakers. We keep hearing the same stories.

Many entrepreneurial and technical women aren’t getting the visibility they need to grow their companies (and careers) because they aren’t on the speaking “circuit”. Everything from the number of women on boards and in senior management roles could be impacted if we could all look up and see great women speakers at events. “Visibility = opportunity.”

The Innovation Women Solution: An online speakers bureau

InnovationWomen.com is an online speakers bureau designed to facilitate speaking engagements for entrepreneurial and technical women. Anyone organizing an event can search our data base for entrepreneurial and technical women to speak at their event in order to find a good match for their topic. This helps them create a more balanced event.

Innovation Women also provides a framework for entrepreneurial and technical women (at all levels of the organization) to position themselves for speaking opportunities. Our questions (like “Tell us your origin story”) help women share their story and expertise. Our database will include both people who get paid to speak as well as people who speak primarily for visibility. (Most other speakers bureaus work only with speakers who get paid to speak.)

Below is a mockup of an Innovation Women profile page:

Technical and entrepreneurial women (or their marketing and PR departments) will create profiles on our website. The profiles will contain information on their background, expertise and topics they can address as a speaker. Profiles will also contain sample slides and videos, showcasing the speaker.

Event managers and organizers will create their own accounts, register their events and be able to search our database based on location, event date, type of event, subject and type of speaker.

Our speakers are protected from spam as well. Only registered event managers can send invitations to the speakers. Both speakers and event organizers will get rated.

Other content will include a directory of women and business organizations, and articles on speaking, conferences and events. Our own organization will utilize the site to identify speakers for our events.

Know a great women entrepreneur or technical person? Nominate her for Innovation Women!

Where we are today:

Over the past five and a half years, we’ve helped local Boston startups launch more than 700 new products through our Innovation Nights website and events. We have more than 10,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter. This newsletter is heavily comprised of local Boston area events so we have great connections to Boston area event managers AND entrepreneurs, both male and female. We are currently expanding this model into all the New England states. Innovation Nights is providing us with more than just connections and a list. We also have a basic website architecture that will form the basis for Innovation Women. We already own the website domain where you can sign up to receive our newsletter.

What’s next?

  • We need to build out the new Innovation Women website
  • We need to implement ecommerce (we want Innovation Women to cover its own expenses and allow us to generate funds to be used to support it.)
  • We need to make the website look as sharp as the design
  • We need a marketing budget to help expand the reach of Innovation Women

Campaign Budget:

Most of the budget will be dedicated to the website – design and development work as well as content creation and ongoing support. We will need the website concept, people paying for profiles, to support ongoing marketing. We’re used to doing things on a shoestring; the first Innovation Nights event had a budget of $28.95.

Why Back Innovation Women:

While women have made great strides in business, they still represent a tiny fraction of the population employed at the senior most levels in the business world. 85 percent of the companies that get venture capital funding have NO women on their senior management team. There has been little to no increase for women on boards in corporate America. Women held only 16.9% of board seats in 2013.

Speaking engagements and more visibility is one path to success in these and other areas. The more women executives and technical women get up and speak, the more likely they are to be given a chance to participate in other conversations.

It has been shown that gender diversity leads to a higher profit.              Companies with the most women board directors outperformed companies with the least number of female directors on return on equity by 53 percent. On average, companies with more women board directors get 42 percent more return on sales than companies with fewer women directors. Companies with more women board directors outperform companies with fewer women directors’ return on invested capital by 66 percent. Some companies have no or few women on their board. Our goal is to help make these stats a thing of the past.

We all benefit as well from a more diverse set of speakers. We go to events and conferences to learn and make new connections. We all learn more if more perspectives are shared. If you are part of a corporation, you should support the opportunity to get more women on panels and on speaking engagements and have your company recognized as an organization that supports women in leadership positions. For individuals, this is a great way to support technical and entrepreneurial women, or, get visibility for your own efforts.

About Us

Innovation Women is a new project by the team at Innovation Nights.

Innovation Nights is a new product launch party and showcase. Every month the Innovation Nights community supports the launch of (at least) ten new products, using social media to help spread the word. This community has helped to launch more than 700 new products in the Boston region and is expanding into other communities as well.

Bobbie Carlton is one of the founders of Innovation Nights. A long time fixture in the Boston area marketing and PR community, she worked with a number of local PR and marketing agencies, as well as heading corporate PR for Cognos and Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC.) In 2006, she jumped into the start-up space, joining the team at B*Tween Productions, home of the Beacon Street Girls. Hooked on startups and entrepreneurship, she founded both Innovation Nights and Carlton PR & Marketing, both dedicated to supporting the visibility efforts of small companies and start ups.

Risks and challenges

As with all Kickstarter projects, there is a risk of delay in delivering some of the rewards, especially around development of a website (which always seems to take longer than anticipated) but because we have the basic architecture already, we feel confident in our ability to do this.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Get listed among the charter supporters on our InnovationWomen.com website and proudly display your "I support Innovation Women" badge on your website or blog!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    WHY? Why does women's clothing never have pockets? Innovation Women have pockets on their phones! Get our stick-on phone pocket for card credit cards, license or business cards. It's a phone and a wallet in one PLUS it comes with the Innovation Women logo. You'll get listed among the charter supporters and get a cool Innovation Women gift.

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    Ships to Only United States
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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    By popular demand - show your support for Innovation Women! Get a short sleeved unisex "Visibility = Opportunity" Innovation Women T-shirt. AND you get to be listed as a supporter on the website.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Limited-time, pre-launch, charter speaker or event manager annual membership to Innovation Women. Your premium profile will be enhanced with a Charter Member seal only available through this pre-launch sale.

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    57 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Nominate an Innovation Woman! Early bird pricing on the annual subscription for a premium Innovation Women profile for a friend. This is a great opportunity to tell the technical or entrepreneurial women in your life that they need to get out more...and speak about their experiences. Makes a great gift!

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    Limited 13 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    1 premium Innovation Woman speaker profile plus an Innovation Women (Visibility = Opportunity) long sleeved shirt - Ladies 100% Deluxe combed ringspun cotton, sizes S-XL.

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    Limited 48 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Trailblazers - Your company/project/you don't need no stinkin' visibility but you think Innovation Women is an awesome project. So awesome, you're writing a check without asking for website ads and logos. We will list you on the website under a special trailblazers category and speak your name in hushed whispers around the office. We'll also send you a special Trailblazers Innovation Women shirt.

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    9 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Trusted Advisor Gift Pack: Get 12 profiles to give to your favorite "innovation women" clients or prospects. Give the gift that says "I believe in you". We'll provide you with special codes for your clients and the artwork to include in a message as soon as the Kickstarter campaign is complete. You can still buy individual or additional profiles for $50 but this gives you 2 free!

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The Organization Special - 25 premium profiles. You want a LOT of profiles for your team, or members or to hand out to friends and clients. $1000 usually buys you 10 profiles but with the Kickstarter pricing you get 20 AND we'll throw in 5 bonus profiles just for you.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Your company's logo or ad with a link on the Innovation Women website for 6 months PLUS 10 premium profiles for your company’s Innovation Women.

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    1 backer
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Your company's logo or ad with a link on the top of the Innovation Women homepage for 1 year PLUS 10 premium profiles for your company’s Innovation Women.

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    Limited 0 backers
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Full package of ads – banner, module and unlimited job ads, on website, sidebar ad in newsletter with links to the sponsor’s website for 1 year. Plus 10 Innovation Women profiles. Inclusion in e-mail newsletter for 1 year.

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Funding period

- (30 days)