Women create around one third of all companies in Europe, yet research suggests they face some major challenges when building a business, especially in terms of raising capital.
Anne Ravanona is the founder and CEO of Global Invest Her, a platform that aims to fund female entrepreneurs faster. She says that women struggle in mainly three areas when it comes to business: "finance, networks and champions".
In regards to access to funds, Anne tells us a metaphorical anecdote: "Women have 500 cups of coffee with the wrong people and men have five cups of coffee with the right people and get the funding off the back of an envelope". This is how she describes the gender funding gap, the amount of money raised between female founders and male founders, which is currently estimated to be $1.7 trillion or €1.4 trillion. There really is a difference "building your business if you are a woman entrepreneur", she adds.
The European Commission has set up the WEgate initiative to support female entrepreneurship. It's a go-to platform that operates in partnership with other organisations on the ground. WEgate is a place women can go to find out all the different resources available to them, a "one-stop-shop" according to Anne. Members include much-needed mentors and ambassadors for aspiring female entrepreneurs.
WEgate is a helping hand for women trying to make it in business, but Anne thinks more should be done. "There's a real need for us to better understand what problems women entrepreneurs are trying to solve". According to her, better funding and support for female entrepreneurs are key.