Tomorrow can come quickly and then be gone before we feel the sun. The COVID curveball thrown at the economy cleared the bases for many, and now it’s time for the boys and girls of summer to regain the economic field.
Some things have to change, including the harsh reality that funds for investments and support for female entrepreneurs, political hopefuls, and social leaders lag far behind those for males. Just like before COVID.
We no longer have the bandwidth to shun so many who stand ready to invest in our nation to make it thrive again. Tomorrow means the sun rises for all of us.
Opening the circles
Female political candidates still report being excluded from financial circles that include the wealthiest and best-connected donors. These circles often revolve around corporate relationships and specific industries and include few women. Venture capitalist (VC) money follows similar paths. Many political action committees underfund women candidates overall, because they focus their funding on incumbents, most of whom are men.
This lack of investment mocks reality. Companies in the top quartile for the amount of women in their ranks are 15 percent more likely to outperform competitors. Both men and women in legislatures with more women introduced and enacted more legislation than other legislative bodies.
The Harvard Business Review has some of the first numbers comparing the year before COVID to the COVID period, and they show “a substantial drop in venture capital funding for women-led startups.” They found that in 2019, 2.8 percent of funding went to women-led startups — an all-time high (small as it was); in 2020, that fell to 2.3 percent.
“Some speculate that the pandemic made investors more wary of risks and more likely to stick to their existing networks — which is very much a ‘boys club’ and tougher for women to break into,” they said. Other numbers underscore that conclusion, such as female venture partners remaining a minuscule minority — 9 percent, to be exact.
“We are leading by bringing others to invest in the solutions that women want in the world.”
- Portfolia, a female-led VC firm
Closing the gap
The idea of #5050x2028 needs the fireworks of financial support in many areas.
In this Summer of Tomorrow, we have an extraordinary opening in which to adjust. Forbes magazine agrees, noting earlier this year that policies aimed at female founders and investors “can reignite the economy and close the gap in opportunity.”
“We need to allow ALL people to fully participate in the economy and contribute their talents,” Gayle Jennings O’Byrne, co-founder and general partner at WOCstar Fund, told Forbes. “For far too long, venture capitalists have overlooked these founders of high-potential companies.”
New analysis shows that when women-led startups do get funded, they often produce more than twice as much per dollar invested, largely because they have especially strong business plans.
And when we think of tomorrow, consider this critical ingredient for success: even the struggle to obtain funding usually results in building resilience and adaptability, according to research by Quartz. Resilience and adaptability: invaluable for dealing with what our tomorrow may bring.
“We are leading by bringing others to invest in the solutions that women want in the world,” the female-led VC firm Portfolia says.
Painting the possibilities
The long days of summer offer themselves, the morning coffee and birds, and the closing flickers of sunset as paintings of the possibilities before us, warm and shining. Tomorrow is calling and coming quickly. COVID showed us the equality of a crisis and how we all needed to move forward together. We saw what works and what needs to adapt. Some call tomorrow the time for the COVID catapult. Many are hungry to feel alive. Let us be hungry to thrive.
©2021 Women’s Campaign Fund
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