I recently had an interesting conversation with Alice Bentinck, chief operating officer of Entrepreneur First who is on the hunt for bright graduates committed to the idea of starting their own company….specifically females.
Entrepreneur First is designed to turn graduates in to successful tech business founders – regardless of whether you have a team or even a fully developed idea yet.
The company spends one whole year with the grad – Six months developing an idea and six months taking it forward. 30 graduates are invited onto each intake.
“The stereotype on campus is that that tech is not for certain people. We want grads to see start ups as a viable career option,” said Bentinck.
She added: “We encourage grads not just to launch a start up but to join a start up too and to take the risk on a new company. At a big corporate you have a narrow breadth of skills you can learn, which is not the case at a start up company which is more all-hands-on-deck.”
This summer Entrepreneur First ran Code First: Girls, which is a programme that teaches females the basics of coding.
“A lot of our recruitment messages were not working for the girls. We had a 10% female in take before. We did a nine week part-time coding course for girls this summer and now we have a 20% intake of girls, so it’s creeping up slowly but it’s an uphill battle,” explain Bentinck.
I think Adriana Gascoigne, founder & CEO of Girls In Tech, would agree with the use of language in recruitment. At the Campus Party last week she gave the example of “code Ninja” as one of phrases you might want to stay clear of when trying to attract more women into tech based roles.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to launch a start up or you know of someone you believe has the potential you can find out more about Entrepreneur First and Code First: Girls at http://www.entrepreneurfirst.org.uk/.