Last night saw the launch of our #LeadHers campaign - a campaign to encourage more female-led businesses to apply for CMS equIP, our virtual accelerator for tech start-ups.
The #LeadHers campaign is led by two of our own brilliant female partners here at CMS - Sarah Wright and Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon - who are both fierce and fiesty and not afraid to address the challenges that face female founders, and question how various stakeholders in the ecosystem can support women-led businesses.
Questions are often raised about what female founders can do differently when it comes to looking for investment, so I was particularly inspired to hear from Caroline Hughes, Co-founder of Lifetise, who said the question should not always start with "what do women need to change?". Instead, shouldn't we be challenging the system that provides investment - is it a case that there is a great effort in bringing more women onto boards, but there is an equal need for more women-led investment? There was talk last night from Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, about educating and encouraging more women to get involved in investing and supporting female-led businesses themselves.
Another point of great inspiration came from Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, Co-founder and CEO of Akoni (a member of our equIP programme) who told the audience that being an entrepreneur takes "grit". Whether male or female - all entrepreneurs take risks and make sacrifices and the harsh reality is that no one can have it all. Female founders don't have any less appetitie for risk and if I took one thing from the evening, it's that there absolutely must be an equal level playing field.
All in all, the evening was filled with positive energy and I certainly left with a strong, independent woman mindset, so thank you to all of our speakers and everyone who joined us at the event to support our #LeadHers campaign.
Please do follow our journey as we continue to support female-led business through our equIP programme and mentoring scheme.
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.