Elizabeth Gore: President & Chairman, Alice
The #SheInnovates stories team sat down with Elizabeth Gore to discuss the role of women in innovation. Get involved at She Innovates Global.
#SheInnovates Stories: Innovation is solving the world's problems. What problem are you solving?
Elizabeth Gore: We believe in UN Goal 8! Women, minorities and other underrepresented business owners have significantly less access to the capital, programs and networks that are needed to succeed big. This is despite these groups representing the "new majority" of entrepreneurship. At Alice, we are creating a new playing field with the world's first AI technology, built to connect diverse business owners with the resources, tools and opportunities they need for every step of their journey.
#SheInnovates: When did you realize your innovation was a breakthrough?
EG: My co-founder and I had run businesses before Alice, and we'd had conversations with thousands of other entrepreneurs. The experiences always had a common thread: they needed better access to resources. So, we knew the need for Alice was there. But it really hit home that we'd created something important and new when we saw the real life impact of Alice. One our earliest users, an African American woman with a physical disability, had a successful business but needed to take it to the next level. Through the tools and resources on HelloAlice.com, she was able to refine her business plan and learn new business development techniques that increased her revenue significantly. That's when I knew Alice could change the world.
#SheInnovates: What were some unexpected obstacles you overcame in the innovation process?
EG: Capital is a challenge for any startup and we knew that, going into fundraising for venture capital, but we didn't know how hard it would be. Even with a large and influential network, we've had to pitch hundreds of times to get to enough yeses. It's not an easy path, especially for women, who only receive 2% of all venture capital in the U.S. However, there is a plus side. This experience has inspired us to work even harder to eliminate the barriers to success faced by women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs.
#SheInnovates: What inspires you to love your work?
EG: My family and the business owners we serve. My kids inspire me to think creatively and to create good change for the world. I also get a jolt of energy every time we hear from a business owner that Alice has helped in some way. That makes the long days and nights entirely worthwhile.
#SheInnovates: What do you hope that young women coming behind you take from your work?
EG: I hope girls and young women continue to claim their seat at the table. They belong there, and they have valuable contributions to make.
#SheInnovates: Why are women in innovation important?
EG: Diversity and inclusivity are the drivers of real innovation. We need women as well as people from a rainbow of backgrounds to create new ideas and solve the world's biggest problems.
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Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.