HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 21

Houston entrepreneur plans to bring female founders to the forefront of SXSW this year

Reda Hicks, founder of GotSpot — a digital tool that helps connect people with commercial space with people who need it, is looking to advocate for Texas female founders at SXSW. Courtesy of GotSpot

During the past two years of SXSW, Reda Hicks — along with Denise Hamilton, a fellow female founder — observed that the festival isn't optimized for female founders. Whether it's not accessible financially or just not creating programming that women are interested in, Hicks saw an opportunity.

"The two of us had been to SXSW together for the past two years, and we just saw a whole where a lot of female founders were being lost," Hicks says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "We can solve both of those problems by creating an experience where it's an entire day that doesn't cost attendees anything and put together a lot of different content that would be really helpful for women growing their business."

Hicks, founder of GotSpot — a temporary space finding tool, teamed up with Hamilton, founder of WatchHerWork — a professional women's resource, to do just that. They have created an activation at SXSW on March 12 called Texas Female Founders Day, which will feature female founder-focused programming.

Thanks to a partnership with Ford Motors, the group will also be selecting a couple lucky female entrepreneurs to sponsor their stay and passes into SXSW. The process has been exciting to Hicks and indicative that Hicks and Hamilton aren't the only ones who have sought out a female founder focus at SXSW — or across Texas.

"What I hope is that it's the first of many similar collaborations," Hicks says. "We have such amazing power among the women in this state and we need to be working together on these kind of things."

Hicks discusses the partnership and her tips for entrepreneurs making the most of SXSW on the Houston Innovators Podcast. Plus, she shares updates and successes for GotSpot. Listen to the full episode below — or wherever you get your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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Building Houston

 
 

this one's for the ladies

Texas named a top state for women-led startups

A new report finds that the Lone Star State is ideal for female entrepreneurs. Photo via Getty Images

Who runs the world? According to Merchant Maverick's inaugural Best States for "Women-Led Startups'' study, Texas is a great place for women to be in charge.

The Lone Star state cracked the top 10 on the list, earning a No. 6 spot according to the small business reviews and financial services company, which based the study on eight key statistics about this growing segment of the economy. Colorado (at No. 1), Washington, Virginia, Florida, and Montana were the only states to beat out Texas on the rankings—leading the Merchant Maverick team to conclude that "the part of the country that lies west of the Mississippi is great for startups led by women entrepreneurs."

Women-led startups in Texas received $365 billion in VC funding in the last five years, the report found. This is the seventh largest total among U.S. states. Too, about 20 percent of Texans are employed at woman-led firms, which is the fifth highest percentage among states. Roughly 35 percent of employers in Texas are led by women.

A few other key findings that work in female founders' favor: The startup survival rate in Texas is nearly 80 percent. And a lack of state income tax "doesn't hurt either," the report says.

Still there are shortcomings. On a per capita basis, only 1.27 percent of Texas women run their own business. The average income for self-employed women is also relatively low ranking among states, coming in around $55,907 and landing at 31st among others.

This is not the first time Texas has been lauded as a land of opportunity for women entrepreneurs. A 2019 study named it the best state for business opportunities for women. Houston too has proven to support success for the demographic. The Bayou City was named in separate studies a best city for female entrepreneurs to start a business and to see it grow.

Still, as many findings have concluded, the realities of the pandemic loom for all startups and small business owners. The Merchant Maverick study was careful to add: "The pandemic has changed the economic landscape over the past year, and often for the worse.

"This means that not every metric may be able to accurately gauge how a state might fare amidst the pandemic," the report continues. "To help factor in COVID's impact, we included some metrics that take 2020 into account, but it will be a while until we get a full picture of the pandemic's devastation.""

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