An Analysis of Women-owned Scientific Suppliers

Summary

When a lab hires HappiLabs to be their virtual lab manager and do their lab shopping, we want to make sure we buy from suppliers who fit the values of the lab. Recently, one of our customers asked, “Who are the female owned suppliers? We’d like to buy from them.” Therefore, we hired Dr. Vidhya Sivakumaran (above photo), a cardiovascular–focused postdoc from Loyola University, to do research on the topic. This is an informal study assessing the population of women-owned suppliers of scientific supplies, services, equipment, and reagents.

happilabs shops for women-owned scientific suppliers
The 70 companies that were surveyed for this analysis

Methods

  1. We selected 70 suppliers with whom HappiLabs has purchased from over the past 6 months
  2. Scanned their website to identify the sex of ownership
  3. If it wasn’t clear, we confirmed website findings with a phone call or email

Note: If we missed any women-owned business beyond the 70, please notify us: hello at happilabs.org

Discussion

It is well know that most industries are male-dominated. However, this is slowly changing and with this many labs are looking to buy and work with women-run scientific suppliers when it comes to purchasing pipette tips, chemicals, antibodies, centrifuges, etc. It was our hypothesis that there are few women-run businesses. Based on our research, this is true. However, science is doing better than the Fortune 500.

Lab shopping for female owned science businesses
92.9% male vs 7.1% female owned scientific suppliers

From the sample we looked at, 5 out of 70 or 7.1% of science suppliers are owned and/or run by women: DotScientific, Chemglass Life Science, Gilson, Macherey-Nagel, and Science Exchange. This is slightly higher than the 4.8% of fortune 500 companies run by females (Catalyst.org). Yay science!

happy labs shopping for women-owned scientific suppliers

We did find out through the course of our study that women-owned businesses out-survive male-owned businesses in several industries and areas, such as education and restaurant establishments (Kalnins et al, Journal of Business Venturing, 2014).

We also observed that only 16.9% of corporate board seats were held by women in 2013, with little progress in narrowing the gender gap (Huffington Post). Michelle Rowley, a tech entrepreneur and founder of Code Scouts (a non-science business), knows this feeling all too well. She was quoted in Entrepreneur magazine as saying, “that is a weird dynamic – being the only woman in the room – and they are all staring at you because they have to. I thought, I wonder how the dynamics would change if we could get more women involved.”

How does HappiLabs want to help? HappiLabs is interested in supporting women-run companies by making it easier for scientists to purchase supplies and services from them. We also plan to reach out and possibly work with several groups that promote women in science, such as AWIS Chicago, the Field Museum Women in Science, Women in Bio, and the Chicago Collaboration for Women in STEM.

Please share this post with other scientists who might be interested in knowing about women-owned scientific suppliers. And sign up to receive our monthly newsletter with updates about tips and suggestions for being a conscious shopper (and user) of scientific supplies:

 

9-year, $180M contract–Looking to partner with a supplier who is owned by a minority, female, veteran, or persons with disability

virtual lab manager for scientists

Hello world. As part of our mission to improve the happiness of scientists and the quality of their research, we are looking to partner with companies who represent the under-represented.

The state of Illinois has posted a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a 9-year contract estimated to be worth $180M for providing scientists (and future scientists) with lab supplies, equipment, software, and support.

HappiLabs is submitting a proposal.

Based on past records, there is very little competition for the same suppliers who win these bids every year, mainly ThermoFisher (valued at $112B!!!) and VWR ($6.5B). We are a small, family-run business, and as young and small as we are, we will do our best to break the status quo, win some of this bid, and bring new and innovative value to scientists of Illinois. To do that, we are looking for strategic partners who stand for more than just profits for their shareholders.

The RFP establishes a goal of 20% for contracting with businesses that have been certified as “owned and controlled by persons who are minorities, female, or persons with disabilities (BEP certified vendor). 30 ILCS 575.” And a goal of 3% for businesses owned and controlled by qualified veterans and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The state of Illinois calls this the Business Enterprise Program (BEP). You can read more about it here.

At HappiLabs, we are a diverse group with 14 employees that are 54% female, 31% minority, and 5 PhDs. We are focused on helping scientists, and any human is welcome. Are there suppliers out there who can help us promote diversity in the sciences?

If you are BEP certified, or want to be, please contact us ASAP. Help us help the scientists of the world.

We’re hiring a Virtual Lab Manager

Virtual Lab Manager at a growing life science company

If you have experience with lab management, purchasing, or customer service in the sciences, apply!

ABOUT HAPPILABS

HappiLabs is a small business in Chicago, still in the early stage but past the startup stage, that provides a service to scientists called the Virtual Lab Manager. We are similar to an outsourced purchasing department (some might say a Personal Shopper) for biotech companies and scientific research labs, and support them in many other ways besides buying things.

We have a mission: to improve the happiness of scientists and the quality of their research.

By helping scientists do their job, we are helping all the people on the planet who benefit from inventions, creations, and knowledge that scientists create.

Purchasing and Customer Service ScientistYou will co-manage a minimum of two labs. We are “virtual” so your job consists of sitting in an office and communicating with scientists, in other parts of the world, about what they need to run their experiments.

You will be trained to be one of the best lab managers in the world.

EXPERIENCE

A strong candidate will have one of these backgrounds:

  • Lab manager or postdoc (or superb grad student) who has managed people, experiments, and budgets
  • Purchasing agent
  • Sales rep in the life science industry (but this is NOT a sales job)

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Communicate with engineers & scientists to understand their needs and experiments
  • Communicate with suppliers (sales reps, technical help & customer service) to obtain pricing and technical info, place orders, retrieve order updates, and solve logistics and supply chain problems
  • Keep accounting records organized
  • Report progress and solve problems at team meetings

TIMEFRAME

Looking to start now, preferably in Chicago.

COMPENSATION

  • Full-time
  • $50-70k, depending on experience
  • Medical and Dental health benefits
  • A t-shirt, free coffee and snacks at the office

SKILLS AND TRAITS YOU SHOULD HAVE

We want a long-term commitment, someone who will help a small company grow into a large one.

  • Tech savvy (very good with a computer, its keyboard and multiple monitors)
  • Proactive mentality – help without being asked to help, and an ability to predict problems
  • Knowledge of hardware or mechanical engineering, and/or chemistry, and/or molecular biology
  • A passion for science and desire to make a difference in the world.
  • Confident presence on the phone. We frequently call suppliers

===== APPLY NOW! ======

CLICK this link –> HAPPILABS JOB APPLICATION (VIA A GOOGLE FORM)

It will not hurt to connect with Tom on LinkedIn.

Promo Codes of the Week

Running a lab is way more fun when you find creative ways to save some moolah. Here at HappiLabs, our Virtual Lab Managers (VLMs) love to save you money on supplies and equipment.

That’s why we’ve curated a weekly promo list showcasing the best of the best. Check in every Tuesday for new additions – and if you know of any promo codes we didn’t catch, please share in the comments or tell us on Twitter @HappiLabs_org using hashtag #HappiSave.

Happi savings!

Exp. Date

Code Description

Supplier

10/9/18

101VWR18 15% off consumables VWR

10/15/18

CARTSEPT18

10% off & Free shipping

MAC’s Auto Parts

10/26/18 E51 Free shipping

Sigma

10/31/18

WICKEDDEALS2018 25% off Eppendorf tubes   and plates Eppendorf

10/31/18

OCTSHIP18

Free shipping

VWR

10/31/18 XTIP4               45% off xTIP4                    Biotix pipette tips

E&K

11/30/18

SCHOOL18

35% off Recombinant proteins

Biolegend

12/31/18

Multiple Codes

Various Promega promotions

Promega

12/31/18 495 Various discounts on “stockroom reagents”

Sigma

12/31/18

Multiple Codes

Various discounts on Thermo promotional page

Thermo Fisher

12/31/18

Safety60

60% off Chemical safety products – One time use

Fisher

TBD

SAVE5

5% off purchases

Vitality Medical

A Message from our CEO Tom: Post-YCombinator at HappiLabs

There has been a lot going on behind the scenes of HappiLabs the last few months. As we mentioned in our last blog post, this summer, we joined world-class accelerator YCombinator (YC), to help advance our virtual lab manager technology. A couple weeks ago, we participated in a pivotal part of the program, Demo Day, where I presented to a select group of investors, press and other YC companies.

ycombinator

Time has flown by and offered few spare moments, but while fresh on my mind, I wanted to share an update:

Fundraising is almost over and soon I will get back to focusing on operations and technology. We will fall short of our fundraising goals but have enough money to move forward with 1-2 strategic hires, and I’ll get back to finishing fundraising in a couple months.

There are two weaknesses investors are pointing out:

  1. We do not have an in-house engineering team (we’ve been outsourcing)
  2. They fear it is difficult to sell to scientists (I agree!), which limits the rate of growth

I’m not worried about sales, we know how to sell to scientists.

On the other hand, our priority continues to be welcoming a Lead Engineer to our team. YC offered a wealth of resources to help us understand and plan for the technological developments necessary to build a game-changing product that will allow us to reach more labs. This knowledge has influenced what we’re looking for in this leading tech position (Interested in learning more? Click HERE).

In the meantime, we hired two freelancing software engineers to continue development of our second app that improves security and automates the organization of our purchasing data. Little by little, we’re evolving our service and following through on our commitment to bring more innovation to labs and scientists all over the world.

We have received press from awesome business and tech outlets like TechCrunch and Chicago Inno, who have written about the work we’re doing. Click here and here to have a read, and feel free to share with your networks.

The last post-YC happening is four new customers. Again, sales is not an issue, we continue to grow based on an amazing customer experience and the word-of-mouth it inspires. When we do supplement that with real sales channels….look out!

We will continue to keep you in the loop on company news and updates.

Until then, hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the last couple months. Thank you for your ongoing support!