Home Hair style Women still struggle to access venture capital funds. What must change?

Women still struggle to access venture capital funds. What must change?


This lack of trust has spurred support networks and knowledge-sharing communities for female founders. Philips, of Sojo, says its fundraising strategy was shaped by a webinar from The Stack World, a community-led media platform developed by serial beauty tech entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid, the one of less than 20 black female entrepreneurs in the UK to access VC funding over the past decade.

Hurr’s Prew researched and contacted female founders two to four years before her, who helped her draft contract terms and guided her to tools like Crunchbase Pro and Docsend. Its advisory board includes various names, such as Michelle Kennedy, founder of Peanut, a social media space for women.

Grace Beverley, who recently raised $5.7 million in seed funding for her British sportswear brand Tala, shared her launch platform on YouTube to help other entrepreneurs. Her angel investors include Deciem CEO Nicola Kilner and Peanut’s Kennedy — women she met at conferences, social media connections and through Tala’s executive search process.

Potential for change

Entrepreneurs interviewed by Business in vogue stress the importance of choosing the right investors – “a bigger decision than marriage”, as more than one said. Investors with various partners were the most solicited. “It’s about their values ​​and their beliefs, and their open-mindedness,” says Mounaz Abdel Raouf, co-founder of Egyptian accessories brand Okhtein. The brand is backed by Bidayat, an investment platform founded at the end of 2021 by Rachid Mohamed Rachid, CEO of the Qatari investment fund Mayhoola (which owns Valentino and Balmain), to support emerging brands from the Middle East, Africa and from Europe. Of the five members of Bidayat’s investment committee, two are women, including CEO Tugba Unkan.

Some companies do unconscious bias training for investors to try to standardize their treatment of entrepreneurs. There is still a lot to do, says Unkan. “We need fashion education to include business mentoring and entrepreneurship. I would also like industry awards that identify future talent to offer longer-term support to winning designers. The chain from winner to successful business is broken.

Specialized funds have begun to target underrepresented entrepreneurs, hoping to restore the investment balance. “We need more diversity in all funds, not just those for female founders,” says Anu Duggal, founding partner of the Female Founders Fund, which manages $100 million between family offices, strategic founders and investors. institutional. The fund publishes educational content on its website, including fundraising tips, pitch and term sheets.

In the UK, Young Enterprise, a national charity, works with school-aged children to develop entrepreneurial skills and start nurturing future founders before gender bias kicks in. “In addition to business experience, we provide access to relevant networks and role models,” says CEO Sharon Davies. “Ideas about money and business are set by age seven, so you need to build that pipeline early.”

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