Empowering Female Entrepreneurs: The Role of Male Allies 

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By: Jill Button, President & CEO, ProcurePro Consulting, Founder ProcureHub Marketplace 

 As we celebrate International Women’s Month, it’s important to reflect on the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and the pivotal role male (and female) allies play in their journey towards success.  

In today’s dynamic business landscape, fostering an environment of inclusivity and support is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage.  If for no other reason, the case for allies to support female entrepreneurs just makes for good dollars and cents! 

Some of the greatest challenges faced by Women Entrepreneurs: 

1.Access to Funding: 

In Canada, women-led startups account for approximately 17.5% of all private-sector businesses but received only 2.3% of total venture capital (VC) funding worldwide in 2020 

This disparity highlights the challenges faced by female-founded companies in accessing VC funding compared to their male counterparts. Despite receiving significantly less capital, women-founded ventures often generate more revenue than male-founded companies.  

Statistics from Canada indicate that companies founded by women tend to outperform those founded by men financially. Specifically, a study by First Round Capital revealed that companies with a female founder performed 63% better than investments with all-male founding teams 

Additionally, investments in companies founded by women averaged $935,000, less than half the average $2.1 million invested in companies founded by men; however, businesses founded by women ultimately delivered higher revenue, more than twice as much per dollar invested. 

How can you become an Ally? 

It may sound obvious but invest in us!  According to the above stats, it just makes good business dollars and cents to investment in women businesses given that on average women founders deliver a 2X ROI.  

According to a Perplexity.ai search, The top 5 individual angel investors or firms in Canada supporting female founders include: 

  • Michele Romanow: No surprise, Michele Romanow is at the top of the list.  She is a powerhouse female entrepreneur and angel investor who has co-founded multiple companies, including Clearbanc, which helps eCommerce brands access funding. She has made angel investments in companies like RVezy, Trufan, and Endy. She champions diversity and inclusion in the startup ecosystem, empowering female entrepreneurs and underrepresented founders 1. 
  • Women’s Equity Lab (WEL): Women’s Equity Lab is Canada’s first all-female angel fund that expands across North America. Founded by Irene Dorsman, WEL comprises diverse, successful women who collaborate to make smart investments in new businesses led by women. The fund aims to activate capital, advance the economy, and promote gender equality by supporting female founders 2. 
  • The51: The51, co-founded by Shelley Kuipers, is a Calgary-based venture capital firm focused on democratizing capital for women and gender-diverse founders. The firm supports startups with underrepresented founders at the helm 

These are just a few of the individuals and firms who play a crucial role in providing financial support and guidance to female entrepreneurs in Canada, contributing to the growth and success of women-led ventures in the country.

2.Gender Bias:

Gender bias also plays a significant role in challenges faced by female entrepreneurs. One example of how gender bias affects female entrepreneurs beyond funding is in networking and access to industry connections. Research shows that women often face barriers in accessing professional networks and mentorship opportunities, which are critical for business growth and success. 

How Male Allies Can Help: 

Facilitate Introductions and Networking Opportunities. Male allies can leverage their networks to introduce female entrepreneurs to potential mentors, investors, and industry contacts. A warm introduction is by far more effective than cold outreach.  By facilitating connections, actively promoting inclusivity in networking events and professional circles, male allies can help create more opportunities for women entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate and get funded.  Consider this, you will be providing your connections with opportunities to 2X their investor dollars.   

3.Work-Life Balance Challenges: 

Balancing the demands of entrepreneurship with family responsibilities is incredibly challenging for all entrepreneurs, we work seemingly 24×7 with no vacations or time off.  For women entrepreneurs, this is particularly more challenging.  Women are more often the primary care-giver of children and aging parents.  This will often lead to burnout contributing to a decline in entrepreneurship and loss of innovation in Canada.  

How you can help 

Actively support flexible work arrangements, policies, and advocate for supportive business cultures that recognize the diverse needs of women entrepreneurs and their families. 

Why Do We Need Male Allies? 

Overwhelmingly our male peers wield significant influence in the business world and in venture and angel funding. Actively supporting and collaborating with female entrepreneurs, male allies not only contribute to the advancement of gender equality but also unlock new avenues of financial growth and innovation. Diverse perspectives and experiences drive creativity, resilience, and competitive advantage, positioning businesses and communities for long-term success. 

Creating a Win-Win Strategy for Success: 

By fostering inclusive ecosystems that empower women entrepreneurs, male allies can catalyze economic growth, drive social impact, and unlock new innovation.  Collaboration and allyship are not just moral imperatives; they are strategic imperatives that drive opportunities for mutual success. 

As we look towards the future, join me in committing to building a more inclusive and equitable world where every entrepreneur, regardless of gender, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed. 

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