Half the population are women. Half the business talent are therefore women. So what’s the problem?

Relationship Manager, Gitanjali Sharma shares her thoughts on changing the conversation for women entrepreneurs.

Half the population are women. Half the business talent are therefore women. So what’s the problem?

Women entrepreneurs continue to pave the way for a fairer and brighter future by being vocal about their barriers to entry and business needs, but what actually needs to happen to change the game? My day at AllBright helped me get closer to answering that question.

Reality check

Let’s start with the facts. Only 1/3 of entrepreneurs in the UK are women and when it comes to funding, for every pound invested in a male led business, 1 penny of it goes to a female founded business. That’s not a typo. 1 penny. The first challenge for these businesses is gaining that initial seed capital to get ideas and prototypes off the ground. The two strongest ways to do that are through your network.

1. Find mentors through professional networking sites or through industry peers to draw inspiration from and provide business coaching. They may even be able to connect you to opportunities.

2. Explore peer-to-peer networking opportunities online and offline and become part of a community of like-minded women to support each other through entrepreneurial ups and downs. Exchanging ideas, making new connections is a sure fire way to get one step closer.

AllBright help with all of the above. Their monthly pitch days offer a platform for women to challenge the status quo and an opportunity to align gender imbalances. Part of my role as a Relationship Manager is to better understand the female entrepreneur landscape – what do businesswomen really need and what can we do to help them achieve their goals? I attended a pitch day at AllBright as a panellist to help address these questions.

In it to win it

8:30AM. Pitch Day doors are open and I’m looking forward to hearing fresh ideas that solve life’s everyday problems in innovative ways. I wasn’t disappointed! One of the first ideas pitched was how to digitise the reams of paper emanating from lawyers’ offices, making it more cost effective and sustainable. What’s not to love?

The businesses are bold and confident. They are creative as evidenced by a digital fashion brand designing for blushing bridesmaids, and practical, as demonstrated by a business who leverages AI to solve every parent’s childcare woes through a curated online child care experience.

I loved the passion that shone through, as well as the confidence. The highlight for me was the equine solution from an engineer with a childhood love of horses who designed wearable technology for horses that will give vets and owner’s unprecedented visibility on the animal’s health and well-being, helping them detect and prevent health issues. Just brilliant.

Pitchers have just 3 minutes to make an impression to a panel of investors, afterwards there is an opportunity to network with peers and potential investors. Speaking with these savvy businesswomen and watching them network with each other was an immensely enjoyable experience. It was clear to me there and then, that if women truly support each other, talk openly about challenges and share opportunities, the conversation will move a step closer to changing for good.

HSBC Private Banking’s partnership with AllBright is something my colleagues and I are very proud of. We are able to show our commitment to women entrepreneurs and help them move forward in achieving their business ambitions. We’re learning how to better support female led businesses and it’s a privilege to guide and mentor these women. Our goal is to connect them to tangible opportunities and people who want to nurture fresh entrepreneurial talent.

So how do we change the conversation? For me, it’s about leading by example. To see change, we need to be the change.

Statistic References

  • British Business Bank: UK VC & Female Founders report
  • The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship
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