scale investors are working to increase female entrepreneurs in Australia
An investment group known as Scale Investors are working to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Australia. The group, set up in 2013, already has 59 female members, and say they are planning to encourage more women to become investors in order to tackle the male-driven world that is the investment community.
‘There’s been a lot of coverage around getting more women on boards … that problem is more pronounced in the start-up community where 96 per cent of the investment community is male,’ said chief executive of Scale Investors, Laura Mackenzie.
Scale Investors plan to bridge the gender imbalance in the investment community by providing support for women-led start-ups, with every investor participating in at least one investment deal per year at a minimum of $25,000.
Despite critics such as Rio Tinto’s CEO, Sam Walsh, boldly suggesting that women’s lack of confidence is their downfall in business ventures, there is clear evidence to suggest it is simply the mindset of employers that are hindering women’s success in the business world.
Business Review Weekly (BRW) claims that in the United States, investment ventures led by women only receive 7% of the total project funding, even though their success rate is higher than that of male-led companies. They say the situation is similar in Australia with women ‘failing to secure venture funding’ despite proving themselves more than capable of maintaining successful businesses.
BRW revealed evidence from a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, which ‘showed that investors are more likely to be swayed by a pitch delivered by a man than if the identical pitch was delivered by a female’. In the study, 68% of male pitches were chose over female pitches by participants even though the ‘content was exactly the same.’
Scale Investors are fighting to improve these disproportionate figures, saying that they’re following in the footsteps of a US group known as Golden Seeds, who have tripled the number of female investors in the last 10 years.
‘We’re trying to recreate that situation here. We think encouraging more women to be investors is absolutely part of that solution,’ says Ms McKenzie.
‘We feel as a group we have so much to give to that next generation of entrepreneurs — every one of us brings something different to the table.’
Thankfully, Scale Investors are not alone in the fight to increase female entrepreneurs, with organisations such as Head over Heels and programs like Springboard Enterprises Australia also helping women to achieve their business goals.
(Image credit: Scale Investors)