Battling the ‘Bro’ Culture: Helping Women Entrepreneurs Win At Startup Scaleup

By Janet H. Cho
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A panel at this year’s “Startup Scaleup” event aims to help women navigate the competition for investors, allies and credibility.


This year’s Startup Scaleup, JumpStart’s all-day networking and expertise-sharing event for entrepreneurs and small businesses, has just added a panel provocatively called “Battling the Bro Culture: Being a Woman in the Startup World.”

The conversation, scheduled from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Aug. 15 in the Near West Cafe in the Gordon Square Arts District, aims to help women navigate the competition for investors, allies and credibility. And it has already received more likes and page-views than the other 35 panels scheduled for that day.

“We’ll examine what gender bias really looks like and explore ways to overcome that bias and get your ideas found — and funded — by investors,” says Amy Martin, JumpStart’s senior partner in marketing, on the Startup Scaleup website.

Panelist Yvonne Campos, president of Next Act Fund LLC for women investing in women and founding CEO of Campos Inc., said that “bro culture is only the extreme of the behavior that has always existed” and that women have had difficulty changing. “We can’t break in, so we’re creating a parallel universe” with our own sources of funding, she said.

Janet Makepeace, founder of JAR Leadership Coaching, is one of 200 angel investors in a network called Pipeline Angels who invest only in women- and nonbinary femme social entrepreneurs, who identify as women. She said women entrepreneurs need more than money; they also need investments of social and human capital to succeed.

Cathy Belk, president of JumpStart, said only 3 percent of the venture capital funding was raised by women CEOs, or only $1.5 billion out of a $50.8 billion industry, according to a study of nearly 7,000 companies between 2011 and 2013.

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