By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)
Oakland-based investment fund Kapor Capital invests in seed stage information technology companies to generate economic value and positive social impact.
This month, they are also investing in human capital by contributing scholarships for entrepreneurial women of color to attend the upcoming Women 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on February 14. Additionally, Kapor Capital’s Brian Dixon will be at the conference serving as a lunchtime mentor!
Here are the 10 scholarship winners, as selected by Kapor Capital:
Alexa Mason is a mother, full-time college student and business owner. She founded The Mommy Cycle, a multi-faceted staple in the parenting community. She aspires to develop the brand into a primary source for parents, helping stay-at-home parents create an identity and stream of income for their families. The (future) The Mommy Cycle Cares will be able to provide support to families in need, providing jobs and opportunities for parents. Attending the conference provides Alexa with an networking opportunity that she otherwise might not have as a full-time student in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her on Twitter at @themommycycle.
Ashara Ekundayo is a serial entrepreneur and cultural worker of the urban landscape who has served as catalyst, curator, educator, and producer for more than 20 years with local and international clients. She has worked with organizations to illuminate connections and build capacity for increased community engagement through the uses of creative practice, exhibition and project management. Ashara is a member of the founding team of HUB Oakland, an innovation collaboratory, business incubator and co-working space opening this fall in Oakland (where she will also be opening OmiArts Gallery). Follow her on Twitter at @blublakwomyn.
Blessing Oyeleye is a Process/Project Engineer for a Fortune 500 Company in the Midwest. Inspired to enable and empower the next billion of women entering the global economy in the next decade, she is currently in the developing stage of her startup – a platform that encourages women to play big and also forces investors to go big or go home. A graduate of the University of Florida where she studied Chemical Engineering, Blessing is pursuing her Energy MBA at the New York Institute of Technology. She is the owner of the blogs ThinkFeminist and WorkingMomJournal. Follow her on Twitter at @ThinkFeminist.
Carla Mays has an entrepreneurial dream to create a cloud platform that provides social and tech entrepreneurs and impact investors with data, information and connections that disrupts “pay to play” entrepreneurial space. She aspires to create strategic partnerships with academia, financial institutions, tech companies and government agencies to provide data, information and business development to both entrepreneurs and impact funders. This way all entrepreneurs can understand their market, create business plans that are investor ready and have the support they need to get started and stay competitive. Follow her on Twitter at @CarlaMays.
Catherine Perez is a co-founder of an early-stage technology startup and looking to gain some amazing inspiration, guidance as well as network at the Women 2.0 Conference 2013. It’s not often a designer leads a technology company, let alone a female designer of color. Catherine’s entrepreneurial dream is to shift the web as we know it today. While focused on the current product, she’s equally – if not more – invested in creating an amazing company culture and encouraging more men and women who don’t come from an Ivy League school, or even a tech background, to a make big impact! Follow her on Twitter at @catperezsays.
Deborah Donaldson is a Management Leadership for Tomorrow MBA Prep Fellow that recently gained acceptance to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, starting this fall. While working at her dad’s store in Jamaica, she enjoyed learning about customers, business and the unique role that retail plays in improving lives. She currently works as Manager of International Strategy and aspires to use her passion for retailing and helping others to create a socially responsible organization that modernizes retail in frontier emerging markets.
Gloria Kimbwala is currently working as a technical writer at an early-stage startup in San Diego. She will be starting her Master’s in Software Engineering in the fall. As she continues her career as a software developer in a male-dominated industry, she hopes to gain a mentor at the Women 2.0 Conference – as well as mentor others along their way. Gloria aspires to learn and create more opportunities for a startup culture in San Diego. She would also like to create more opportunities for minority hack events in San Diego! Follow her on Twitter at @gkimbwala.
Michelle Richards is a recent graduate of Founder Institute, a technology incubator in Palo Alto/Mountain View. She is a passionate advocate for increasing the numbers of minority women in technology. Her startup will serve to educate and empower women in underserved minority communities to achieve self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship in the STEM fields. Her interests include the exploration of technological innovation in new/creative ways, volunteering and travel. A lover of all things disruptive and champion of minority entrepreneurs, she is passionate about affecting change through technology and leading by example as a self taught techie.
Sara To is currently bootstrapping all finances for project development for BRUTE LABS and raising funds for her own salary. She is working on a project that is building a leadership development curriculum on a mobile app – an educational resource for students who are on the verge of dropping out of school or on the verge of dropping out of school with a primary target of Chinese and Native Hawaiian youth groups. As a Native Hawaiian/Chinese American woman, she hopes to connect with entrepreneurs at the Women 2.0 Conference who have insight on venture capital, technology and the youth development arena. Follow her on Twitter at @sarakyap.
Serenity Siya Mlay was raised by parents who emigrated from Tanzania, and given the freedom to follow her heart. She is a recent graduate from Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland. While studying at Mills, she interned with Grameen Trust, a subsidiary of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. She also led the Net Impact chapter at Mills College and currently serves part time as director of programs at Shinda Foundation, which operates and manages Shinda Basic Primary school in Arusha, Tanzania. Serenity is currently working on her own ideas which incorporate her passion to make an impact. Follow her on Twitter at @SerenityMlay.
Thanks to Kapor Capital for taking the initiative to support women in tech, and to the Mitch Kapor Foundation for supporting organizations like Women 2.0 to drive social change in communities of color en route to equality by providing financial resources for social change.
The day is full of speakers and panels sharing case studies, best practices and stories of successful business models in today’s economy, with an eye to emerging markets and the opportunities there. Attendees will learn from talks by successful women executives and founders of startups and tech companies, and network with 800+ men and women in tech. There will also be mentoring available at lunch.
Check out the full agenda and get your ticket here.
Women 2.0 readers: Joining us on February 14 at the Women 2.0 Conference? Let us know in the comments.
Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.