What it means to win a US SBA Growth Accelerator Grant

by Annamaria Konya Tannon, co-founder and CEO of Equita

Equita was announced today as a winner of a $50,000 grant from the US Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

Each generation is inspired by the powerful women who come before us. This is especially true for Equita, our San Francisco based accelerator that focuses on empowering women in tech. As natives of Romania and Hungary, my co-founder Roxana Dantes and I are hugely influenced by our families there. My grandmothers were managers of clothing factories and farms; my mother an entrepreneur in the field of design. Roxana’s mother innovated in the public medical system in Romania and encouraged her daughter to pursue her passion of entrepreneurship in the world’s largest and freest market: the United States.

Coming to Silicon Valley with strong female role models, we were disappointed by the dissimilar opportunity landscape for young women in tech. I have worked as a serial entrepreneur in the Bay Area for over 15 years and seen little change in the gender balance of the tech and venture capital community. Few people seem willing to genuinely improve the environment for women to pursue leadership positions in the tech sphere.

We have a unique perspective that informs everything we do at Equita — we understand the complete lifecycle of an entrepreneur, from girlhood to being a woman in a male-centric field; and we assist women in navigating the obstacles and securing the skills they need.

We therefore made it our mission to work both with women entrepreneurs that are founding or have founded companies, as well as their younger counterparts — middle school girls who have a passion for thinking outside the box and a desire to shape the social landscape around them. Using these two communities to support and inspire each other is what makes our mission so unique, and Equita so vital.

Winning this grant means more than the recognition. It validates that the work we are doing is valuable, and it means we can reach more people. We will impact the lives of young girls and women, who in turn continue to inspire us day in and day out with their drive, dedication, and unbreakable resolve to do what they love, no matter the setbacks. With this award, we will offer more workshops, an online speaker series, and produce more educational material, so as to encourage young girls and women from any background to reach their full potential.

Years ago, as immigrants, we moved away from everything we knew and the people we loved to pursue our dreams in America. We learned difficult lessons, but we know now how to be and how to help innovators, how to be and how to help changemakers. We will take risks, make mistakes, and continue learning. We look forward to creating a global network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors as we move forward, and we thank the US Small Business Administration for helping advance Equita and its mission. To all of you reading this, we invite you to join us on this journey.

Find out more information about Equita on our website.

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