With less than 4% of venture capital going to white women entrepreneurs in Canada (and almost negligible amounts to Indigenous or Black women), and with women being more than three times likely to be discouraged to borrow funding than their male counterparts, the prospect of bringing a business vision to life for a woman entrepreneur can feel overwhelming and challenging at best, and impossible at worst. Add to that the narrative that in order to be successful, you have to hit hockey stick level growth within a handful of years and be “killing it” against your competition.
None of this takes into account environmental or community or social impacts a business may have and it certainly doesn’t take into account that women represent a $3T opportunity according to Morgan Stanley. Investors are missing out by investing primarily in male-owned businesses: research states that startups run by women generate 78 cents for every dollar invested, while male-owned counterparts generate only 31 cents per dollar.
In today’s world though, it can’t just be financial returns that we are looking at – we need to consider the ripple effects that businesses have on their communities and moving the needle on significant societal and environmental challenges. And here, women come out on top too. Every woman entrepreneur we see is integrating at least one Sustainable Development Goal
into her business and we know that women tend to invest more of their money—up to 90%—in their families’ health, education and well-being than their male counterparts. Globally, women volunteer more—57% compared to 43% of men.
Access to capital – both the education around it as well as the relationships to pursue it – remain a key barrier for women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create the financial and societal impact we know they can make.
The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs has been running educational, mentorship and community programs for nearly two decades and our newest, Money Moves, is Canada’s first comprehensive, accessible, collaborative and deeply supportive capital education program.
Designed with a gendered lens, the program is cohort-based, and brings together 28 diverse women from across Canada who will walk participants through understanding the different sources and types of capital that exist, share their unique experiences and lessons learned, open up their networks, and support the women entrepreneurs in creating a customized funding action plan.
This program honours that each woman’s vision and values are unique and valid, and helps each woman put together the pieces of the puzzle for her funding roadmap.
Money Moves is for any Canadian self-identifying woman entrepreneur who seeks the knowledge and community to grow their business. All industries and stages welcome. FWE believes in leaving no woman behind and has dedicated grants for those for whom cost may be a barrier. The current application period closes on Friday, October 2, 2020 at 5pm and we’ll be continuing to accept applications for a waitlist for the next cohort. More information is available on the Money Moves website.
Imagine a world where women have full access to the capital they need to grow their businesses, support their diverse teams and communities and are creating deep economic and societal impact. It’s a world that we believe is both greatly needed and absolutely possible. We can do this by investing in women, in their education and in new systems designed to uniquely support them.
Paulina Cameron is the CEO of Forum for Women Entrepreneurs.
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash