242 CLEARING THE HURDLES: WOMEN BUILDING HIGH-GROWTH BUSINESSES
human capital deﬁciencies rather than to social capital and network
access. Because women do lag men in technical training, this observa-
tion might be a function of the fact that their venture ﬁrms specialize in
technology. The data from the Springboard Forums does not appear
consistent with these observations of inadequate human capital.
The observation that the industry is gender blind and that investment
choices are made based on objective standards seems to be a contradic-
tion of sorts. Anecdotal and empirical evidence suggests that investment
decisions are often more subjective, based on gut feeling rather than
being truly objective. This raises the question of whether women in the
venture capital industry are adopting the norms and beliefs of their male
partners (rather than changing them) to succeed in their roles.
The women venture capitalists observed that their participation in
the decision-making process has inﬂuenced discussions in new and posi-
tive ways, particularly in bringing new perspectives to the table. How-
ever, these changes have not resulted in substantial changes in the
number or quality of investments in female-led businesses. There might
be some institutional change taking place in the industry, but it is an
extremely slow process. If and when there is a perceived beneﬁt in accel-
erating change, it could come as a result of industry or policy mandate.
What Can You Do to Change Things?
Investigate Organizations That Provide
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has launched a Women’s
Network for Entrepreneurial Training (WNET). The mentoring pro-
gram provides an opportunity for informal mentoring relationships
between experienced women business owners and women whose busi-
nesses are ready to grow. Other resources include the following: