On Thursday night, Richmond Inno hosted its first Women in Innovation event with a packed house, full of local female-powered startups and supporters from the Richmond innovation community. Thank you to our founding partners, Activation Capital and BDO, for powering the evening, and to our event host Dominion Payroll for supplying a stellar space.

The night was centered around our Ecoystem Builders panel discussion moderated by Kieran McQuilkin, editor at Richmond Inno. The panel featured Brittany Garth, founder of Pinq Inc.; Tracy Lewis, President of the Richmond Foundation Board at NAWBO; Shannon Siriano Greenwood, founder of Rebelle; Liz Doerr, co-founder of Sandbox; and Ali Greenberg, founder of The Broad.

We discussed the biggest challenges for entrepreneurial women, which gaps need to be filled in the ecosystem and how Richmond supports female founders. Our top takeaways are:

  • Richmond has come a long way in the past five years when it comes to opportunities for women in the innovation economy, but there’s still ample room to grow.
  • There’s plenty of capital to be found and plenty of room to try new concepts in the millennial-heavy River City, but startups don’t need to rush to investments. What’s more important early on is finding customers, demonstrating a successful product or service and knowing a business model is sustainable.
  • Being an entrepreneur is strenuous work, and isn’t the right choice for everyone, so having business-minded friends, mentors and partners in place for a mutual support network is crucial to getting a young startup off the ground.
  • Having diverse employees and decision makers is key to a successful business, because if all the different voices aren’t in the room, companies risk missing key perspectives from target demographics about their products.

In addition to the panel, we had Paige Wilson from Naborforce, Sarah Abubaker from ReRunner and Wendy Jiang from Tablee showcasing their startups. A big thank you to everyone who attended, participated and helped make last night successful.We’ve selected some of the best photos from last night’s event below.