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Giving Compass' Take:
• Fast Company reports on two initiatives — The Female Founder School and Ready, Set, Raise — which are trying to help women start more businesses and get funded.
• How can we support female entrepreneurs in general? Which grantmaking practices have the strongest gender lens?
Plenty of entrepreneurs start businesses based on a need or problem they personally have that will translate into a solution for multitudes. But in Leslie Feinzaig’s case, she wanted to solve a problem that prevented her (and other women) from turning those ideas into startups in the first place.
“The Female Founders Alliance (FFA) is the program I needed when I was trying to fundraise,” says Feinzaig, speaking of her startup Venture Kits. Not only did she find it difficult, she says it was impossible to overcome investors’ biases, even though she got some high-profile media coverage and has a resume that includes leadership roles at Andreessen Horowitz-backed Julep, Big Fish Games, and Microsoft. Feinzaig also worked with Innovator’s Dilemma author Clayton Christensen.
“I used to be the person you hired,” notes Feinzaig. So when she’d go to pitch events to present, Feinzaig felt like she’d knocked it out of the park–especially when she’d routinely win the audience vote for best pitch. But when she went up against male founders in investor-judged competitions, Feinzig says she’d routinely lose to a white guy.
“We are living in a moment in which we [women] are certainly part of a national conversation, but I’m not sure we are getting results,” she says. Headlines and great stories, Feinzaig says, need to be turned into creating opportunities for lasting results for female founders like her.
Read the full article about the new programs helping more women entrepreneurs get funding by Lydia Dishman at fastcompany.com.