I googled pitch contests for male entrepreneurs - not a thing.
Then I googled female entrepreneur contest and it blew up.
As a female who runs my own company, I do not want to compete with other women for a sweater and a thousand dollars. I don't want you to "tap my audience" or make people vote for me so you can get more likes on your Instagram and I sure as hell don't want mentorship from someone who does not understand my business or who has built a business that I disagree with.
Supporting female-run businesses means buying from them.
It means grants.
It means funding opportunities.
It means not demanding that the only way one becomes eligible for funding is by becoming a nonprofit and thus stripping women from their opportunity to build wealth by owning their own business.
Ultimately it means believing in women. Trusting women to do the right thing. Making space and allowing them to take up space.
And ultimately by parading us around like ponies or forcing us to compete with each other it means that you are holding us at arm's length but not including us.
By doing this you are attempting to pull back women who have escaped from corporate structures and hierarchy and train them to build businesses in the way it has always been done.
But guess what? Your structure didn't work for me before and it does not work for me now. So, without funding, without support and without magic keys to magic networking doors we will build new things, better things - and guess what - I won't make you pitch for my support when I get there. That is how change is made.
Allison Venditti is the Founder of Moms at Work & Careerlove. She built her businesses with a framework of advocacy never seen in corporate and without funding, grants, or giving up her ownership by becoming a non-profit. She happily grows her company with her team of 5 part-time successful women who support other women - no pitching required.