Letter: Women need to be included in entrepreneurial ecosystem

Graphic by Lori Deaton

In the Nov 17 edition of Mountain Xpress’ “Buncombe Beat” article on page 13, “Second Mountain Raise Highlights Crowdfunding for WNC Businesses,” readers experienced the following:

Ten bolded names of those featured and interviewed. Nine of the bolded names were men, with one female introduced in relation to her husband, a co-founder. I attended the event, which was relatively gender-balanced in terms of audience, and Mountain BizWorks, the host, also did a fair job of representing both women-founded and male-founded businesses. The press coverage, however, unfortunately replicates the felt exclusion of women business owners in the community.

As an advocate, activist, author and educator who strives to promote gender equity across opportunities and outcomes for business owners, this felt quite gender-imbalanced. In my book co-authored with Banu Ozkazanc-Pan (Brown University), Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A Gender Perspective (2022), we provide research-backed best practices and recommendations for how we can individually and collectively close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Asheville’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is featured in the book, published by Cambridge University Press.

I ask Mountain Xpress’ editorial board, journalists and readers to be more aware, mindful and intentional regarding who is featured, covered and portrayed in your newspaper with a gender-aware lens. This intentional change is necessary for women to feel included, accepted and welcome as entrepreneurs, potential or nascent entrepreneurs into the community. Having a stand-alone edition for women business owners is insufficient. Women need to be mainstreamed into the high-growth, scalable, fundable entrepreneurial ecosystem. The press plays a critical role in this effort. Thank you for responding publicly to this request.

— Susan Clark Muntean
Associate professor of management
UNC Asheville

Editor’s response: Thank you for your feedback. Xpress ran two articles on Mountain Raise, one before and one after the event. Our Nov. 3 pre-coverage featured Jessie Dean, founder of Asheville Tea Co., and Aron and Jessica Wehr, owners of Wehrloom Honey and Meadery (“Capital Idea: Mountain Raise Connects Small Businesses With Local Investors”). Both Dean and Aron spoke at the Nov. 10 event to discuss their previous crowdfunding successes, but neither pitched to local investors there. The purpose of our event reporting was to highlight those who did pitch, which is included in the Nov. 17 issue.


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One thought on “Letter: Women need to be included in entrepreneurial ecosystem

  1. Mike R.

    I believe there are plenty of opportunities for all people in our society who are resourceful and hard working. Enuf said.

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