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Odds are still stacked against female entrepreneurs

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by Startacus Admin

odds still stacked against female entrepreneurs

International survey highlights the odds are still stacked against female entrepreneurs

The odds are still stacked against female entrepreneurs, with women more likely to start their business much later in life and with less access to funding.

These were among the findings according to a recent poll by the online graphic design marketplace 99designs who surveyed more than 1,700 entrepreneurs from the US, 99designsUK, Europe and Australia.

The survey, released on #InternationalWomensDay highlighted the funding gap that exists between the sexes, with men twice as likely to receive $100,000 in investment and also highlighted the fact that women tend to start their entrepreneurial career later in life than men.

men twice as likely to have raised +$100,000 in funding

Substantial funding obstacles exist between the sexes - 12% of men had secured $100,000 or more in funding compared to only 6% of women.

“With the venture capital sector remaining a male-dominated industry, the odds are already stacked against female entrepreneurs,” said Pam Webber, CMO at 99designs.

“Women also tend to be more risk-calculating and going after that initial (seemingly) high seed might be daunting. Support from experienced female peers within the VC sphere may help to deter and overcome any fears of risk or existing gender bias.”

Men start their entrepreneurial ventures younger than women

Nearly a fifth of men (18%) started out at age 18-25, versus only 12% of women. Of those entrepreneurs who began aged over 35, 43% of women fell into this category vs 33% of men.

female entrepreneurship“These patterns are most likely down to more women starting up an enterprise when their children have started school when they have more time to pursue a passion’” said Pam Webber. 

“Returning to the corporate world still presents its challenges after extended maternity leave and the freedom of self-employment can be extremely beneficial.”

However, the encouraging news from the 99designs survey is that more and more women are taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. In the US the number of women owning their own business is up by 30% - and since 2008 in the proportion of UK SMEs run mainly by women has increased from 14% to 20%. 

What Startacus thinks 

Here at Startacus, we think that as long as the playing field is not equal for all, there is always more to be done. We certainly think that in the UK and Ireland, where the majority of our startup and entrepreneurial audience is based, we have seen positive signs that a person's social group, be it race, gender, age, or sexual orientation is not so consciously used as a stick to measure a person's ability to succeed in business.

However, gender bias is still clearly evident and we must all do our best to not only just embrace female-led entrepreneurship, but to continue to seek equality until the statistics can’t prove otherwise.

This must happen in all walks of life – from the schooling of all of our children to encourage creativity and an entrepreneurial mindset, the teaching of STEM subjects and ensuring that no subject remains out of bounds, through to the startup conference panel, that balances male and female experience and knowledge as effectively as possible.

Such actions will hopefully mean that in the years to come, the odds are no longer balanced against female entrepreneurs, any more than the odds are of landing on red, not black when playing roulette!


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Published on: 8th March 2017

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