Here at Venture Centre, we don't shy away from hairy problems. And, over the past two years, we’ve noticed that the women entrepreneurs (who make up 61% of our community members) don’t either.
As a women-founded and run organisation, we know the tenacity of women entrepreneurs firsthand. Female founders are strong and resilient pillars of their family units who pursue benefits for people over profit.
Ultimately, women entrepreneurs are exactly what the world needs and that’s why we’re giving them our full focus. 2022 is for learning about and acknowledging their challenges, and being an active part of the solution.
New research gives insight into experiences of women entrepreneurs
Traditionally in entrepreneurship, women founders have had more hurdles than male founders.
Thanks to the latest study, Raising Capital in Aotearoa New Zealand: Insights From Women Entrepreneurs by University of Auckland Business School researcher Dr Janine Swail, we now have new insight into the experiences of women entrepreneurs in the process of raising external finance to grow their businesses.
Dr Janine Swail’s study focused on three key areas: What women want; what they experience when raising capital; and what we don’t talk about (their household and home life).
Some common observations were highlighted by the 26 women entrepreneurs interviewed:
- They were value-driven when selecting investors and were happy to turn down capital if the investors didn’t care about the company’s core values. Avoiding being in business with the wrong person was important.
- Knowledge, networks and mentorship were just as important as dollars. Female founders were looking for smart capital.
- They desired gender diversity when considering investors because being understood and respected was important to them.
- Women who had a male cofounder or business partner commented how some investors would direct their questioning and conversation towards their male colleagues, assuming that they weren't founders or key decision-makers.
- Responsibilities within households can both hinder and help women founders’ abilities to successfully raise finance.
Take some action!
What’s encouraging is that we have the opportunity to change the entrepreneurial world for women founders. Key action steps outlined in Dr Janine’s study regarding the above observations included:
- Do your due diligence on your investors and know who you are forming a relationship with.
- Look for an investor who can potentially fill knowledge gaps in your founding team. Also, investors who are happy to introduce you to their networks.
- Actively seek out and engage with diverse investors (gender, background, age, ethnicity).
- Difficult as it might be, call out direct experiences of bias.
- Renegotiate household responsibilities with partners, particularly in households with children and other dependents.
Interested in learning more? We highly recommend reading Dr Janine Swail’s full study here.
Join us on the journey
Venture Centre wants to be part of growing the next batch of women entrepreneurs. We will be listening, learning, and having our actions inspired by the feedback from our community.
We will also be attending Electrify Aotearoa on May 26th 2022 in Christchurch to connect with electrifying female founders. We’d love you to join us - register your interest by April 3rd here.
Have a business idea you want to develop? Book a time with one of our Venture Navigators here.
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