It’s no surprise that the subject of female leaders/CEO’s has always been a topic of conversation amongst organisations especially in recent years. Perhaps this topic gained momentum after large companies were made examples of for having little or no females in leadership positions or maybe it was down to some great female leaders who began to start speaking up about the lack of diversity in leadership roles.
Since I began my own venture KonnectAgain I have been exposed to many different female leaders in many categories who all have different opinions on what it’s really like to be a female leader.
I have heard female leaders arguable state the point that the more we talk about the lack of female leadership positions and this apparent ‘glass ceiling’ that it will only make the situation worse not better.While others will strongly disagree and openly speak out about the difficulties female’s have within the work place and in some cases point the finger and name and shame.
Recently, The Irish Ventures Capital Association released a report revealing the amount of capital all Irish companies raised in 2015. The results are mind boggling with the lack of funding female entrepreneurs received, some would admit that perhaps not enough female entrepreneurs actually asked for investment while others’s are shocked with numbers being massively low. For those who haven’t read this report I’ve inserted the main points below:
- From all Irish companies who received funding only 3pc are founded by a woman.
- 0.6pc who are led by female CEO’s
- €415m in this period last year, of which only €2.3m went to women-led companies.
These findings bothered me as some of the results consisted of incorrect data (including KonnectAgain) and some companies that are represented are not even Irish companies. Everyone had an opinion about the extreme low number of funding that went to female founders but I found that no female founders were actually representing themselves and speaking up on this matter and instead male founders/CEO’s/male reporters were heard as the main voice. I decided that I wanted to send a survey to 25 female founders and ask their real honest feedback on their fundraising experience.
From the 25 female founders:
- 75% are in business between 2-5 years
- 75% have raised external investment
- 66.67% have raised under €500,000, 33.33% raised under €2,00,000, 0% raised over €2,000,000
- 66.67% admitted that they found it more difficult to raise capital in comparison to their male counterparts
- 50% admitted that they have experienced negative experiences raising capital, 12.50% have heard of horror stories, one founder shared a story of a night she shared with a female VC who openly admitted her preference to specifically funding male founders over female founders.
- 62.50% admitted that they believe VC firms treat male founders better than female founders.
- 62.50% find it impossible to get a response back from female specific funds
I’m a believer that if you have a great product, vision and team that your ‘sex’ should not matter. Opinions and experiences will change but I hope it will be a change in the better direction and perhaps this time next year we will be celebrating the dramatic increase in female founders/CEO’s receiving funding!