Female founders face sexism while seeking funding

Female founders face sexism while seeking funding
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Fri 21st Apr 2023

The majority of female entrepreneurs who replied to a poll said they have likely faced sexism when looking for business funding.

According to the research conducted by Enterprise Nation member and Enter the Arena founder Julia Elliott Brown and commissioned by the Independent, 85% of 100 women founders said they had "definitely or probably" faced sexist behaviour.

Farah Kabir, co-founder of sexual wellness brand HANX, told the newspaper that she had faced sexist comments such as:

"This is a man's job; This is a male-dominated industry; What do you little girls want? It's a man's world; Sexual pleasure is about men; The sex tech industry belongs to men."

She added:

"On the few occasions I've been accompanied by a male advisor, the difference in their attitude towards HANX has been palpable.

“I think the tech industry is still heavily weighted toward white men. Do I think there's diversity washing? Absolutely. Funds need to start putting the money where their mouths are and start backing female founders of colour. There's definitely been sea change, but more needs to be done."

Research released earlier this year showed that only 16% of funds went to high-growth companies with at least one female founder in 2022, and less than 2p in every £1 invested went to all-female founding teams, compared to 85p for all-male founding teams.

Julia Elliott Brown told the Independent:

"Our industry talks a good game about embracing diversity, empowering women and supporting those who have founded their own businesses, but this means nothing if women don't even feel safe to walk into a pitch without being confronted with sexism."

Relevant Enterprise Nation resources

Business growth tips with the founders of HANX

Webinar: Five steps to fundraising for female founders

Join over 1,400 members in the Women in Business Network

10 female founders share their very honest advice

Videos: Watch the StartUp 2021 female entrepreneurship sessions

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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