Making Herstory: Celebrating Women’s History Month with DWEN  

This Women’s History Month, we’re reviewing strides made in female entrepreneurship and celebrating DWEN’s 100,000-member milestone. 

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s worth reflecting on the progress of—and remaining challenges to—female entrepreneurship. One third of businesses worldwide and 42% of all U.S. businesses are owned by women. About half of all start-ups in the U.S. are founded by women, and the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has increased by 114% over the past two decades. The biggest increase was seen between 2019 and 2021, as experts believe the pandemic drove more women to create small startups.   

Female entrepreneurship has been on the rise, and we’ve made strides to eliminate some barriers. Yet, hurdles for female founders remain, including accessing capital (in 2022, all women start-up teams received less than 2% of venture capital funding according to TechCrunch), support networks and technology.   

For more than 15 years, Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN), a global online community backed by Dell Technologies, has been dedicated to supporting and empowering women entrepreneurs worldwide. At the height of the recession in 2009, we brainstormed ways we could help our customers continue to grow and influence the global economy. Women business owners, whose combined companies—at that time—would make up the fifth largest GDP in the world, still struggled to access the capital, networks and resources they needed to take their businesses to the next level. After our 10-year anniversary in 2019, DWEN expanded our support with a digital platform. With a vision to create a global network that would provide resources, mentorship and opportunities for women-led businesses, was born. The initiative has achieved numerous milestones over the years—most recently, surpassing the 100,000 member mark. Let’s take a closer look at DWEN’s history and some of its achievements.  

A Focus on Female Founders 

Investing in women is not only a winning business strategy for Dell, but it also positively impacts the global economy. Women-owned businesses are significant drivers of job creation and economic growth. At Dell, women make a critical contribution to every aspect of our business—employees, leaders, customers, suppliers and partners. We’re actively supporting our customers with improved access to capital, technology networks and information—areas where women have historically been underserved and where we feel we can make a significant impact. Over the years, DWEN has expanded its reach across continents, connecting women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds and cultures. From North America to Europe, Asia to Africa, DWEN’s global footprint has strengthened its impact, fostering cross-border collaborations with a rich exchange of ideas in over 163 countries. 

DWEN has also emerged as a thought leader in the realm of women’s entrepreneurship, spearheading research initiatives, such as the Women Entrepreneur (WE) Cities Index Research, publishing reports and advocating for policy changes that promote gender equality in business. By amplifying the voices of women entrepreneurs, DWEN continues to drive meaningful conversations and catalyze action. 

Mentorship and Support  

Recognizing the importance of mentorship in entrepreneurial success, DWEN has established a mentorship program that pairs experienced entrepreneurs and Dell’s subject matter experts with emerging leaders. Through mentorship, women entrepreneurs gain invaluable guidance, advice and support, enabling them to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. 

"This is THE best mentoring experience I have had to date! My mentor is an incredible listener who is helping me strategize the best next steps I should take, which is something I have needed. I am truly grateful for having access to my mentor and super glad I signed up to be a part of DWEN when I did!” 
– DWEN member utilizing the Mentor Program  

A cornerstone of DWEN’s success has been bringing together women entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers and influencers both in-person and virtually. These events serve as a platform for networking, knowledge-sharing and inspiration, featuring keynote speeches, panel discussions, interactive workshops and so much more. Our regular series of EmpowerHours et Discussions techniques are also available on-demand. 

Access to Capital and Technology 

Access to capital remains a significant barrier for women entrepreneurs. DWEN has been proactive in addressing this issue by facilitating connections with investors, venture capitalists and funding organizations. Through DWEN’s Dream Tech Contest, funding workshops and resources, investment forums and partnerships with mobilizers such as Investissez-la dans le monde et Beyond the Billion, DWEN empowers women entrepreneurs to secure the financial resources they need to grow their businesses. 

As a technology company, Dell leverages its expertise to equip women entrepreneurs with the tools, resources and technology solutions they need to succeed in today’s digital economy. Through initiatives like the Dream Tech contests and technology content series inclusive of Tech Talk webinars powered by GetWise, DWEN empowers women to harness the power of technology to drive innovation and scale their businesses. 

Advocacy and Empowerment 

Beyond business success, DWEN is committed to advocating for women’s rights and empowerment on a broader scale. Through partnerships with advocacy groups and policymakers, DWEN works to create an enabling environment where women have equal opportunities to thrive in entrepreneurship and beyond. 

At its core, DWEN is a community—a vibrant network of women entrepreneurs who support, inspire and uplift one another. Through online forums, social media channels and local chapters, DWEN fosters connections that transcend geographical boundaries, creating a sense of belonging and solidarity among its members. 

DWEN’s Continued Evolution 

As DWEN celebrates the incredible milestone of reaching 100,000 members, the journey is far from over. With a steadfast commitment to advancing women’s entrepreneurship, DWEN continues to evolve, adapt and innovate in response to the changing needs of its members and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. As we onboard our next 100,000 members, we know new challenges and opportunities will present themselves. DWEN stands ready to lead the way. 

The Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network has made significant strides, catalyzing positive change and empowering women entrepreneurs to realize their full potential. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and 100,000 members, we applaud the achievements of DWEN members and recommit ourselves to building a more inclusive, equitable and prosperous world for women in business.