While venture capital funding is generally bias against female entrepreneurs, Harvard Innovation Lab is a “bright spot in the landscape,” says Forbes contributor Susan Price in a recent blog post that reveals about half of the business founders accepted by the i-lab program have been women.
The program doesn’t actively seek out women, nor is there a quota, according to the i-lab’s managing director, Jodi Goldstein. “We don’t take gender into consideration. We want to support great companies, and it has ended up that about half had women founders. It was organic.”
Teams apply each semester to the 12-week Venture Incubation Program, which combines mentoring, workshops and community. Next comes the Launch Lab, a prototype co-working space. The programs are free and open to students enrolled in any of Harvard’s schools.
While some university programs take stakes in companies, Harvard’s i-lab acts as a “marketplace,” offering opportunities for founders to meet with investors in a variety of ways, Price says. She believes that this informal networking is essential for women founders, who are less likely than men to get the attention of venture capitalists.
The i-lab is exploring launching in other cities, as well as finding more ways to work with the Boston community, Price adds, noting that Goldstein also hopes to bring more women on board to mentor both male and female teams.
For the full story, see Susan Price’s recent Women@Forbes blog post, “At the Harvard Innovation Lab Half of the Great Ideas Come From Women.”