We have an extremely exciting show today with CEO of the Desert Angels, Joann MacMaster. Joann has served as a startup founder, mentor, investor, and educator. She’s passionate about regional ecosystem development and recently received the Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson Lasting Community Builder Award and this year the 2020 Women of Influence Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The key lessons for entrepreneurs here are:
- Diversity in entrepreneurship is critical because the people and cultures of customer-bases are very different, so the problem-solvers must also be very different in order to understand the challenges people face around the world.
- Diversity goes far beyond gender and skin color. There is diversity of backgrounds, skillsets, thought, age, geographic location, experiences, etc. So don’t just think that diversity and inclusion means women and people of color. It’s much deeper than that.
- It is unfair to bucket all minority groups into the same category. Women in tech have unique needs and interests different from women of color. Is there overlap? Sure. But to bucket all women into the same category for programs and resources misses the mark. The same goes for all other under-represented groups. Get specific about who is under-represented and develop a strategy to engage them.
- As a founder, be sure not to think about Desert Angels as a single entity – many different individual investors and affiliates. Go engage, and learn about the members individually to move your startup forward more rapidly.