According to Crunchbase data, global venture funding to female-founded companies plummeted in 2020. There’s no one factor at cause here, but COVID has disproportionately impacted women. McKinsey and Lean In’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report explains that child or elderly family care obligations will force as many as two million women to leave the workplace as the result of the pandemic. One final jaw-dropping stat: Business Insider recently reported that hundreds of startups go public every year, but only 20 are founded and led by women. That’s right, only 20 companies since the founding of the New York Stock exchange in 1817 were founded and led by women. Boston Consulting Group analysis of MassChallenge data explained what we’re leaving on the table in ignoring women’s entrepreneurial leadership: if women and men participated equally as entrepreneurs—and had equal access to capital, mentorship, and customer access—the global economy would rise from $2.5 trillion to $5 trillion.
The lack of support for women entrepreneurs is clear, and it’s part of the reason why I joined Women in Cloud as an Advisory Board member. Women in Cloud is thinking about the full lifecycle of business success—from coaching women entrepreneurs in the Microsoft Cloud Accelerator to partnering with forward-thinking politicians like Washington State Senator Patty Kuderer in developing legislation to provide more equal opportunity to women entrepreneurs.
Of course, while we can all influence our representatives to prioritize support of women entrepreneurs, and tout these important stats, there’s more direct action that we can take as well:
#1 – Do the research – Learn about the local businesses in your neighborhood that are founded by women, and tap into communities supporting women entrepreneurs. Take inventory of the products and services that you’re using daily and look into the companies behind the brands. How could you get more intentional about supporting a representative population?
#2 – Understand your sphere of influence – Write down all the ways that you might better support female founders. Maybe it’s buying products or services that they offer, but it could also mean facilitating an introduction to an investor, sharing social media posts to promote their business, or offering an endorsement to feature on their site or in a Yelp review.
#3 – Invest in female founders – This note is specifically for the institutional and angel investors out there. If you have access to capital, investing in women is likely to return a higher ROI. Boston Consulting Group and MassChallenge published research in 2018 to demonstrate why women-owned startups are a better bet. Despite receiving significantly less early-stage capital, women ultimately deliver higher revenue.
When it comes to realizing greater equality in entrepreneurship, each and every one of us is responsible for pushing for the change we wish to see—whether that means voting with your dollars or prioritizing your time to support women entrepreneurs. Global change will require the partnership of policymakers and corporations, but you can have a direct impact on a women entrepreneur’s business trajectory today.
Interested in learning more about this topic? Join me January 28-30 at the Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021 and be a part of the movement. Book your spot today with a 15% discount, and get on board to witness the collective power of women in the technology industry from around the world.
Ticket secured? I highly recommend prioritizing the following sessions:
- Welcome Remarks featuring The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Canada’s first woman Prime Minister
- The #CloudJobs Recruitment Lounge
- The Black Founders Circle
- #RockYourPitch – a session on personal brand architecture
- #CloudMentorshipCircle – a session with cloud industry leaders
- Youth Mentorship Circles focused on STEM topics
- A digital scavenger hunt to network close out the summit
Whether or not you can attend the summit, I appreciate any amplification of the opportunity to friends and colleagues. And to keep the conversation going, I recommend joining the Women in Cloud Digital Network, where you’ll meet incredible women entrepreneurs, corporate cloud leaders, and supporters of greater gender equity in the cloud business.