About Astia

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Look at what you did in 2014!

Thank you to each of you for making 2014 such an extraordinary year for Astia. You are integral to the work of Astia, so we wanted to share with you the many ways you participated, supported, engaged and committed to Astia this year.

You can download an end of year report here: 2014 end of year report - Astia is You!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Astia participates in high-level discussion at the United Nations

October 31, 2014 | New York, NY

Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek, spoke at United Nations Headquarters in New York at a program sponsored by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and organised by the Global Citizen Forum (GCF) and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF).

Titled: “Globalisation and Sustainable Development: the Role of Government, NGOs and the Private Sector”, Sharon spoke about the Astia mission and community on the panel: "Business, Technology and Social Sector: Harbingers of a New Civilization"

The session was broadcast live and attended by UN Ambassadors, international diplomats, dignitaries, Executive Heads of UN bodies, international NGOs and Private Sector representatives.

Sharon's comments were to highlight the importance of and the need for a global strategy - that includes both men and women - to address women's access to capital. Astia was the model she used throughout her comments. The benefits to the economy and society were also core messages.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Investing in the Success of Women High-Growth Entrepreneurs, their Teams and their Ventures

The Astia White Paper

Co-authored by Sharon Vosmek, Astia CEO, and Teresa Nelson, PhD, Elizabeth J. McCandless Chair in Entrepreneurship, Simmons College this statement on the future of innovation has developed over fifteen years of Astia working with high-growth ventures internationally.

We see women leaders as integral participants in inclusive, high performing entrepreneurial teams — without them, success is more difficult. We believe this position should be more widely shared and understood.

In this report we explain why... and how you can join us.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our origins | What brings us to today

In 1999, Astia was created with one mission in mind: to help female innovators succeed. We provided access to capital, business expertise and one-on-one advising opportunities, aimed at developing the entrepreneur as a whole. Fourteen years later, Astia has watched over 4,500 talented women create, float or exit their own companies, and the goal remains the same.

We are committed to the idea that female participation in high-growth industries has a positive impact upon innovation, economy and society. We also continue to believe that gender diversity is a socioeconomic necessity, without which creativity and overall economic productivity are severely compromised.

After working with female entrepreneurs for over a decade, Astia realized the best way to support these innovators involved a shift in company strategy. While business expertise and one-on-one advising was helpful, the most basic entrepreneurial need was access to capital.

Combined with tailored, startup-specific advice - such as pitch coaching - the Astia screening process evolved into a targeted funding program with a focus on the most essential items of the entrepreneurial process. This precise technique better equips Astia’s decentralized activity network, which today can be found around the globe. This change also makes the support of the 5000+ entrepreneurs, investors and industry leaders of the curated, global Astia community more meaningful for the female innovator.

Thank you for being central to this journey!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

#40Forward | Rethinking and Redesigning the Ecosystem

In the lead-up to International Women's Day we are reminded by the world’s media of the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. So, as part of these celebrations, I often take this weekend of the year to reflect on Astia’s successes, those of our entrepreneurs and the high growth ecosystem at large in advancing innovation through inclusive leadership teams.
Astia’s raison d’etre is to promote, ally and assist women high growth entrepreneurs and their ventures, one by one and by changing the ecosystem. As such, this year, we’re delighted and proud to be part of Google for Entrepreneurs’ campaign #40Forward: 40 startup communities rethinking the gender gap, a challenge issued to startup communities to increase participation by women by 25% this year.

Dramatically Increasing Women's Access to Capital
Astia and Google for Entrepreneurs are partnering to increase the frequency and city coverage of the Astia Venture Lunches. We are tripling the number of opportunities for exceptional woman-led start-ups to access capital, as well as expand our reach to include new markets outside of Silicon Valley, London and New York.  
For those new to Astia Venture Lunch, it is Astia's groundbreaking effort to increase dramatically women's access to capital. Not once a year - or even quarterly - but every single month Astia showcases outstanding woman-led companies to accredited investors in London, New York and Silicon Valley. Using Astia's Expert Sift – the proprietary community-sourcing and screening process- in our search for supernovas, each presenting start-up is pre-screened by no less than 25 industry experts before being selected to present.
And what do we know that those selected start-ups will have in common? That their founders have made a very smart business decision: to be part of an inclusive leadership team.

Inclusivity is essential to innovation and job growth
“The diverse group almost always outperforms the group of the best by a substantial margin,” according to The Difference, Scott E. Page, University of Michigan. “The key to innovation, in economic terms, resides inside the heads of people, the more diverse the better. That link may not be immediately apparent, yet any understanding of innovation's role in economic growth must focus on diversity as well as ability.”  As such, Astia works with inclusive leadership teams and actively encourages all members of the team to participate within our community, irrespective of their gender.

The importance of men’s participation in the global conversation around women’s high growth entrepreneurship
We know that high-growth entrepreneurs are similar in almost every respect. Regardless if male or female, entrepreneurs have largely the same education, economic background, needs, and challenges. This gives credence to the need for a unique offering for entrepreneurs focused on including men and women.

Women, however, place greater importance on the moral support, expertise, and financial backing of business partners, while men need far less encouragement from others. This desire of women, for community support and engagement, is what Astia offers our entrepreneurs.

Women uniquely need:
1.  Access to Networks - Around the globe, men and women are still by-and-large in separate business networks. Men are the holders of capital for entrepreneurs. Investment relies heavily on trusted business relationships. Astia is a model for creating a global network of men and women doing business together. 

2.  Access to Opportunity - Research shows that women self-assess differently than men and as a result often have lower aspirations commensurate with the lower assessment of their abilities. Astia exposes women to the opportunity of high-growth entrepreneurship and to the tools and networks needed to succeed within it. This personal growth is best achieved through exposure to the Astia community of men and women who have been there themselves and understand the challenges entrepreneurs face.

Through all Astia’s work to promote, ally and assist women high growth entrepreneurs and their ventures, bringing together men and women who are dedicated to the success of women-led, high-growth ventures is front and center.

And I ask you this. As you assimilate the many truly inspiring women entrepreneurs you will read and hear about this week as we all celebrate International Women’s Day, take one decision that will ensure that men and women are coming together to change the gender gap.

Let’s move forward.

Let’s move #40Forward.