Innovation

Dell invests millions to support global startups and women entrepreneurs

Dell continues to invest in helping the United Nations Foundation drive global entrepreneurship, which it believes will bring more job growth, and in women-led businesses.

Image: iStockphoto/Rawpixel Ltd

A recent survey conducted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNICEF revealed young people aged 18-35 years old believe job creation and entrepreneurship should be the no. 1 priority for the United Nations going forward.

Dell is one company that shares in that goal, and to date has been working with the UN to cultivate a strong level of entrepreneurship globally. For instance, Dell founder Michael Dell was named the UN Foundation's first global advocate for entrepreneurship in 2014.

Just last week Dell, together with Microsoft and Capital Factory, in partnership with 1776, launched Union, an international startup platform expected to connect accelerators no matter where they are located around the world.

The company has also been digging deep financially to increase the level of capital available to entrepreneurs.

In an update at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network Summit 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa, Karen Quintos, Dell chief marketing officer, and soon-to-be chief customer officer, said the company has been putting money specifically into venture capital funding, as well as improving its supplier diversity.

"We spend billions of dollars a year on goods and services from small minority and women-owned businesses, and just last year alone $350 million went to certifying women-only suppliers," she said.

Dell entrepreneur-in-residence Elizabeth Gore highlighted the importance of driving entrepreneurship.

"How do we achieve 600 million jobs that we need? We think it's through entrepreneurship...90% [of jobs in Africa] are coming from entrepreneurs. For countries like the US and UK, it's 70%," she said.

Gore further pointed out the importance of supporting entrepreneurship particularly among females, who she said put 90% of their income back into their communities and families.

"My absolute favourite entrepreneurs are ironically those who are most marginalised. If I walk into a refugee camp, one of the toughest places in the world, the place I see the entrepreneur spirit the most is women entrepreneurs in countries where you wouldn't think. South Africa has as many women entrepreneurs as men," she said.

SEE: Women in tech: 20 stories of women doing big things with their tech skills (TechRepublic)

Last week, the company released its Women Entrepreneur Cities Index that looked at a city's ability to attract and foster growth of female-founded firms. New York came in at no. 1, followed by the San Francisco Bay area, London, Stockholm, Singapore, Toronto, and Washington DC.

On the lower end of the overall ranking spectrum were Johannesburg, Jakarta, and Istanbul.

Each city was ranked according to five key characteristics including capital, technology, talent, culture, and market.

Gore said over the next months the company plans to use the data from its WE Index as its foundation to advocate for new policies to be developed around improving how entrepreneurs gain access to capital.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Dell is committed to fostering global entrepreneurship, which has already been exemplified by Dell founder Michael Dell taking up the role as global advocate for entrepreneurship with the United Nations Foundation.
  2. The company is particularly interested in helping women-owned startups, having already invested $350 million last year for certifying women-only suppliers.
  3. Many countries globally want to create their version of a Silicon Valley to promote local job growth.

Also see

Disclosure: Aimee Chanthadavong travelled to DWEN 2016 as a guest of Dell.

About Aimee Chanthadavong

Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet.

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