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New Report Talks Closing The Gender Gap For Female Entrepreneurs In Startup Land By 2021

Companies founded by women are underfunded, underexposed and operating with limited resources, according to the 2018 report, “How to Close the Gender Gap in Startup Land by 2021,” released by Lioness for the Female Entrepreneur.

Female entrepreneurs are at a critical juncture

Here’s the good news: There has never been a better time in history to be a female entrepreneur than today. Women are founding companies at a historic rate. In 2016, there were roughly 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues. The bad news? Companies founded by women are underfunded, underexposed and operating with limited resources, according to the 2018 white paper, “How to Close the Gender Gap in Startup Land by 2021,” released by Lioness for the Female Entrepreneur and authored by Natasha Zena.

As the spotlight begins to shift to female entrepreneurs, the startup community at large is paying attention to their needs and the value they bring to the ecosystem. This illumination has also reignited conversations around the discrepancies in funding for male and female entrepreneurs and additional barriers that women face when bringing their product and/or services to market.

How do we close the gender gap in startup land?

“This has been a long time coming and the global atmosphere is ripe for change. We’ve been having in-depth conversations with female entrepreneurs for years and we’re both thrilled and honored to voice their accomplishments, give voice to their challenges and advocate for their needs with stakeholders,” Lioness CEO Dawn Leaks said.

 This report is based on seven years worth of aggregated data, interviews and coaching research from Lioness for the Female Entrepreneur, as well as statistics from the National Women’s Business Council and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. It is the first white paper of its kind released by a media outlet that solely serves female entrepreneurs.

According to How to Close the Gender Gap in Startup Land by 2021:

Key Highlights 

  • New Report By Lioness For The Female Entrepreneur Shows How Women Can Close The Gender Gap In Entrepreneurship By 2021 - Lioness Magazine
    Click to download the full report.

    Women-led businesses have dominated private growth in America since 2007.

  • Men still lead entrepreneurship in venture capital (as receivers and investors), exposure (media outlets focused on entrepreneurship cater to a male audience and admit that more than 70 percent of their readers are male), and better access to resources.

  • A number of female entrepreneurs came forward in 2017 about sexual harassment they had experienced from venture capitalists and high-profile figures within the startup community.

  • The funding gap is getting worse due to the differences in the number of deals and the average deal size by gender.

More Women Need to Launch High-Growth Startups

  • Only three percent of majority women-owned firms have revenues over $1 million.

  • Female entrepreneurs are reluctant to hire employees which affects their company’s ability to grow.

  • Women are less likely than men to sell their companies to the highest bidder.

  • Raising the visibility of women launching high-growth startups in the media allows other women to see examples of female entrepreneurship in action and get real-life advice along with the the most up-to-date information on trends and opportunities.

  • Most of the entrepreneurial leadership books and educational materials on the market are written by males. More successful women entrepreneurs who have gone on to scale their enterprises and build solid teams need to return as teachers and advisors in the arena of leading as a founder.

Filter More Women In Women-Only Accelerators

  • Women-only accelerators connect participants with mentors, advisors, venture capitalists, peer support and, most importantly, a force of allies interested in leveling the playing field for women.

  • When it comes to female entrepreneurs of color, the benefits of participating in accelerators are even greater. There was one commonality amongst black women, in a 2016 report by digitalundivided, who had managed to raise over $1 million: they all had participated in an accelerator.

  • Creating a partner network amongst women-only accelerators would give female entrepreneurs a home-base, no matter where they traveled, as well as immediate access to the local startup scene.

Increase The Number Of Female Investors

  • There has been an increase in new venture funds created by and for women.

  • Women-led tech companies have been shown to produce a 35 percent higher ROI when venture-backed and 12 percent higher revenue than their male counterparts.

  • Women entrepreneurs bring in 20 percent more revenue with 50 percent less money invested.

  • Women in the venture capital workforce comprise 95 percent of administrative roles, 75 percent of investor relations, communications or marketing roles, yet only 15 percent of investment professional roles.

  • Putting more women in the funder seat not only ups the chances of women getting funded, but it also has additional effects on the startup community, including diversifying venture firms and deal flow.

  • While investors are chasing unicorns, zebras — profitable businesses that solve real, meaningful problems — are left by the wayside. With the right funding options, zebras could scale to billion-dollar enterprises.

Read the full report on closing the gender gap in startup land, here.

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