As co-founder of our tech start-up programme, CMSequIP, I've noticed the low representation of women among the start-up businesses on our virtual accelerator programme.
While we have over 65 members on our London based programme, to date only a handful of those businesses are led by female founders.
Applicants to our equIP programme tend to be start-ups who are post-seed funding but pre-Series A, and many of them learn about our programme and the support we offer through one of the London-based incubators we work with or via a recommendation from a VC or angel investor we know.
To date we've been fortunate in that we've not had too invest much time or effort in looking for new members to join our progamme : indeed they seem to find their way to us. But on reflection, maybe that's one of the reasons our membership is not sufficiently diverse.
Just as the author of this article in CityAM suggests, I have come to the realisation that we need to be taking a more pro-active approach when looking for new entrants to our CMS equIP programme. If we continue to rely on our tried and tested networks to deliver new members to us, it's likely we will continue to get male led teams. We should instead be actively going out into the London tech start-up community and make it known that we are looking for tech start-ups with diverse leaderhsip teams.
Rather than joining the ranks of those who bemoan the dearth of female founders, we should roll our sleeves up and take active steps to identify those talented female founders who are out there quietly building great innovative start-up businesses without perhaps being quite as "bolshie" or making quite as much noise as their male counterparts.
If you are a female founder of a tech start-up business or you are an investor looking to diversify your portfolio of start-up busineses, we'd love you to join our campaign to support female founders by attending the launch event of our LeadHers camapign on 25th April. Please get in touch for more information.
In her article, Truss proposed a number of remedies. These included suggesting that women need to be bolshier and push themselves forward more, trust their own ideas, and ignore those who try to put them in their place. She further proposed that girls should be encouraged to study maths and computer science. This kind of rhetoric disturbs me. I’m certain that the Treasury secretary means well. But this list of qualities, which she determines are lacking in women, looks remarkably like a list of characteristics traditionally found in gender research to typify men. The underlying implication is that attributes associated with men are superior to those associated with women.