Female business owners have said their ideas and proposals are “not taken seriously” by investors and face a continuous struggle to access finance and grow their business due to their sex.
Women’s Enterprise has launched the first crowdfunding platform with ten female-led businesses across Scotland with the hope of raising between £2,000 and £25,000.
Currently, women launch businesses with 53% less capital then men.
The British Business Bank reported there has been no improvement in the share of venture capital investment received by female founder teams over the past decade. All-female founder teams received just 2% of funding.
Securing funding and knowing where to find it is an ongoing challenge for cold-pressed dog food manufacturer Lucy Millar.
She started her businesses Rùn Dog Food with a “tiny” budget of £2,500 during the pandemic.
She said: “It was unfortunate timing but it launched with just one product. That was all I could afford to launch.
“It went slowly at first but you get this snowball that starts to roll and now we have five recipes and treats.”
Lucy said women face complex challenges when starting a business, such as juggling family life and running a household with work.
“The first three years of Rùn existing, I was a stay at home mum whilst also trying to run a business.
“It was pretty much impossible. Time is hard for women business owners.
“Finance has been the huge thing the entire time. There isn’t a lot of support out there for product based businesses at all.
“There’s not a lot of help for how to get from the beginning to getting big.”
As she prepares for a busy Christmas season, the Women’s Enterprise Crowdfunder is helping her take the business to the next level.
She said: “The crowdfunder is a way of accessing finance that should be available but there’s no other way of getting it.
“I’ve got big ambitions for this business, I’ve seen definite gaps in the market for things that don’t exist yet that need to but we need the financial support to make them happen.”
Agne Petroseviciute runs vegan bakery A.Pastry Shop in the south side of Glasgow.
She says she struggles with rising energy and food prices.
“You really ask yourself how long are you able to go on for, because every pound you make, someone is billing you,” she said.
“As a woman, unfortunately I feel like people tend to take you and your business ideas less seriously. Studies show it is much harder to get a bank loan or to get any other kind of angel investment.”
Antoinette Fionda-Douglas, who owns sustainable fashion brand Beira, said more must be done to help women entrepreneurs thrive.
“What we have found during my time as an entrepreneur is that men have probably more ambitions, more wiling to take risks than women are.
“We need more funding. We need investors to look at what they’re doing and investing in. [We need to] make sure we have parity across genders and sectors.
“We’re not always going to grow if you’re putting all your money into one type of investment.”
Carolyn Currie from Women’s Enterprise Scotland said: “We are all too aware the access to finance is an enduring challenge for women starting up and growing a business.
“Our new crowdfunding platform ensures women get gender specific, wrap around support to help them throughout the finance raising process.”
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