The Women Leaders initiative is jointly led by Reach for Change and the independent think tank Global Utmaning, with financial support from The Swedish Institute. The initiative aims to strengthen the economic position of female social entrepreneurs, towards financial independence and system changing solutions for structural inclusion. Together, the organisations will bring the experiences of female founding social entrepreneurs into the forefront - introducing them into critical international dialogues and forums.
“We know that female founders face obstacles in receiving funding to start up innovative companies due to their gender, and that the society as a whole will lose out in our new economy driven by innovations. The best business concepts are difficult to find, and from our experience of having supported 1200 social entrepreneurs, the potential is usually found where you are least looking for it. Therefore we need to implement a more thorough selection process to find these solutions, and encourage an equal environment where innovation can thrive, especially when it comes to innovative solutions for environmental and social issues today”, says Sofia Breitholtz, CEO Reach for Change.
The new initiative Women Leaders by Reach for Change and Global Utmaning seeks to uncover some of the most critical barriers facing female social entrepreneurs, and formulate recommendations based on these insights. Furthermore, this initiative aims to promote and empower positive examples and role models that can act as catalysts for policy recommendations and increased support models.
The first phase was a desk top study and a key interview study with over 80 female entrepreneurs from all over the world, as well as in-depth interviews with investors which resulted in a report covering four categories of challenges; limited access to capital, limiting system, limiting structure and limiting trust. The aim of the report is to increase the level of understanding and awareness about the issue, both within the sector and beyond. The report also contains hands-on recommendations for public institutions and investors.
“The importance of investments and the investor community are often overlooked when searching for drivers of change for greater gender equality and diversity. Since gender equality is fundamental in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and because we are in the decade of action, we have to move fast. That is why it’s of the highest importance that we shed light on the challenges within the investment community - to change business as usual to achieve a better tomorrow”, says Tove Ahlström, CEO Global Utmaning.
Three key findings in the report:
1 of 4 of the respondents reported that they had experienced obstacles in their entrepreneurial journey related to their sex, limitations included not being taken seriously and/or not being listened to.
50% of the respondents agree with the statement that they believe they have greater challenges in their entrepreneurial journey compared to their male counterparts because they take a larger role at home or in the household.
72% of the respondents in the survey agreed that it was not easy for them to build their startup capital. Most of them said that they built their startup capital using personal savings as well as applying for different grants.
Tove Ahlström, CEO Global Utmaning
Sofia Breitholtz, vd Reach for Change
About Reach for Change
Reach for Change is a Swedish founded, global non profit organization with the mission to unleash the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to create a better world for children and youth. Through multi-sector partnerships we find local social entrepreneurs, and support them to scale their solution through capacity building, networks and funding.
About Global Utmaning
Global Utmaning (Global Challenge) is an independent think tank based in Stockholm that promotes long-term solutions to ecological, economic and social challenges through collaboration between research, business, politics and civil society. The think tank is a node within international networks, working with strategic analysis, policy solutions and advocacy by producing policy dialogues, seminars and publications. Since 2018 Global Utmaning has consultative status with UN ECOSOC. The think tank is a non profit association funded through grants from institutions, authorities, organisations and companies.
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