When we say we are building bridges, we are literally doing just that!  Building connections between female business owners on a local, national and international level.  Last Saturday on Sept 15th, The Hera Venture Summit took place for the 5th time by Hera Labs and Hera Angels. I went to the summit 2 years ago, and thought this was unlike anything I’ve seen taking place around the country.  So, when I went this year and saw that it was close to 400 women business owners and men, aka ‘accomplices’, I was blown away!  Everyone there was on a mission, with full intention, to provide resources, open doors, connect women business owners with other in a way that solves problems, provides solutions, and moves the needle for these business owners.  It was a powerful day where panellists led discussions on the rise of female investors & female founders, investing through a gender lens in female-led innovative products & services, global expansion and tapping into other markets for growth.  There was also the final round of the Hera Pitch Competition and an afternoon focused on investing for both potential investors and entrepreneurs.  One of the real takeaways was the true collaborations and connections taking place all day.  As the winner of the Fast Pitch Competition, Arion Long, founder of Femly said, “I’ve pitched to over 55 places and this summit was the most productive of them all.  I had investors just sit with me for over an hour and helped me tackle my next problem as well as open doors and connections for the next steps I need for my business”.

We at Hera Hub Phoenix were able to send 2 female-led companies to the Summit this year, after reviewing 12 female-led companies.  MSDx, a bioscience company, led by Marie Wesselhoft won the Hera Virtual Fast Pitch competition earlier in August and pitched on stage to an audience of investors.  Knot-ed, another Phoenix company led by Ambra Johnson and Leandres Christopher, also came to the summit to showcase their products and growth at the innovation showcase.  Female led companies that came to showcase, pitch or speak to their company’s growth ranged from tech companies focused on AI to innovative products & services ranging in industries from finance, bioscience, clean air/water, to innovative products focused on femtech–a truly inspiring event to see answers to problems being solved by women.

All in all, we had 6 Phoenix attendees attend the summit, make connections, and expand their reach. We hope to grow this number each year as we build these bridges between each other locally, but also across cities from San Diego to DC. The summit in San Diego was a great example of what Phoenix could be and look like if we pull together the resources and connections we have, as well as reach out and bring in resources from other cities that are on the same mission of helping women businesses thrive, because it is better business!