In a recent study of more than one thousand startups in the UK, US, Canada and China, just 40% had a minimum of one woman on the board of directors. This does not just impact women negatively. It has a knock-on effect on our companies, individuals, economies and societies that are left unable to reach their full potential.
In one study published by BCG and MassChallenge, startups that were founded or co-founded by women performed better than those that were started solely by men. In fact, these women-led companies generated 10% more in cumulative revenue over five years. Furthermore, with every dollar of funding, they generated 78 cents, in contrast to male-founded startups that generated just 31 cents.
According to another study, when companies are more diverse, they are also more innovative and financially successful. When leadership teams include people from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and genders, they have a better understanding of people and most importantly, customers. One reason for this could be that women are often more emotionally intelligent, with strong problem-solving skills.
Therefore, if you are a woman considering a startup, then go for it! The current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented many people from taking the plunge. However, many successful startups begun in the time of crisis. Uber, Pinterest, Airbnb, and Dropbox all began after the financial crisis. Crises can present key opportunities for new innovation. Whatever you do, you will need to consider the implications of the new Coronavirus. You will need to work digitally where possible, and where not possible, you will need to be equipped with face coverings and sanitizing wipes.
But despite the clear benefits of investing in women in business, women generally have a harder time securing the investment they need. In fact, they average $935,000 less than male entrepreneurs. When women are overlooked this way, the economy and society are missing out on the impact of half the population. This means less competition and ultimately, less innovation.
And bias in innovation is everywhere. One 2016 study showed that Google’s speech recognition software was 70% more likely to recognize men. When airbags were first introduced, they disproportionately injured women and children. And when Apple released a health app, they failed to include a period tracker. The examples are endless. When women are not part of the design process, products fail to be as good as they could be. Thus, innovation is halted, and everyone suffers.
The world needs more women in business when women are at the table; amazing things happen. If you are a woman who wants to create a startup, you should feel encouraged to take the leap. You will have a huge advantage over your competition, bringing a new perspective and more originality and modernization. The best thing you can do to start is to speak to other women, join LinkedIn and speak to other people in your industry. Seek advice, guidance and ideas from like-minded people and start something incredible.