Nichelle McCall, CEO and founder of the educational start-up BOLD Guidance, a software platform that simplifies the process of applying to college by using technology and automation to empower students, parents, and counselors to view progress, offers entrepreneurs five tips to help them break into the tech world.
Despite the lack of diversity within the tech industry McCall has made it her goal to shine as a small business owner. In a space where black female startups don’t receive very much venture capital attention, she managed to raise $500,000 for her tech company with no prior technology experience.
[RELATED: 5 Black Women in Tech Bring Innovation To the Male-Led Industry]
“Out of all the venture-backed companies in the country, only 8% have women founders and 1% have African American founders. The stat is less than .2% for black women founders that have received venture funding, says McCall. “So to be able to build a software company from idea to $500,000 in 14 months as a non-tech person is a huge accomplishment. That’s why I speak on and coach aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in creating investment-ready tech and online startups, so we can increase those stats.”
Check out this tech CEO’s five tips for entrepreneurs below:
Seek out an adviser or coach that can help you navigate creating an investment-ready tech company. All too often, we don’t have people in our circle that have successfully developed a tech startup and so we don’t know how to build a company that is attractive to investors and customers.
Embrace imperfections and failures. Entrepreneurship, and especially tech, is full of constant small failures. Oftentimes as women, we want to wait for the perfect moment to start something or release a product. Realize that tech embraces failure. Fail early, fail often, fail fast, and learn the lesson quickly so you can continue to get better. You’ll never really know if something will work until you put it out there.
Find fellow entrepreneurs, so you have support. Entrepreneurship is a different kind of animal and most people in traditional jobs won’t understand the working through the night or weekend and why you can’t go to some event. Find other people who can empathize with your journey, but who can also share insight on potential solutions to problems you may face along the way.
Attend different conferences and events where you can meet other tech entrepreneurs and investors. I regularly attend PowerMoves.NOLA and coach at Weekend Startup School, where diverse entrepreneurs can gain connections, support, and resources to help them in their startup. Find national and local opportunities to meet with other people who are in the industry. You’ll find there is a host of people who are willing to help you along your journey.
Be confident in your ability. All the skills you need, you already have it in you to get started. You will learn new things along the way, but you are equipped to get started now.