Former Silicon Valley executive Catherine Muther, private investors, corporations, and the City of San Francisco will join forces to create the “Women’s Technology Cluster,” an incubator of sorts for women starting technology companies.
The Cluster, contained in a 22,000-square-foot warehouse, will provide inexpensive work space for 20-25 new computing, multimedia, software, networking and communications companies. Selected businesses will also receive free consulting from business consultants, lawyers, and accountants, discounted health insurance and long distance rates, and common facilities and support staff.
The Cluster was designed to give women the financing, contacts and support they need to begin technology companies, which require large initial investments. Jim Robbins, president of Business Cluster Development, and partner with Muther in the Women’s Technology Cluster project, said, “Almost no companies get financed by coming in through the transom and sending a business plan. They all have a relationship with someone. Women need a better network, like this combination of cluster and contacts.”
The National Foundation for Women Business Owners reported that women-owned businesses enjoyed only 1.6 percent of the $33.5 billion venture capital invested between 1991 and 1996. A large percentage of women’s businesses are in the service and retail industries, which require smaller initial investments. “Credit and access to capital has always been a problem for women, but in those sectors (retailing and services) it is not as hard,” said Muther.
If you would like to apply for a month-to-month lease in the Women’s Technology Cluster, call 408-294-5544 and request an application.