WEGate, the one stop shop for women entrepreneurs, was a key feature of the “Startup to Scaleup – The Role of Business Angels” event, organized by France Angels and Business Angels Europe on 8 and 9 March in Paris. It provided a great opportunity to showcase the value of the WEGate platform and programme to an audience of more than 190 leaders in the European access to finance ecosystem.
BAE is part of the consortium that manages the WEGate programme, specifically taking responsibility for the “Access to Finance” stream, for which BAE has already organized multiple online events (see upcoming webinar).
The dedicated WEGate panel on “Women and Diversity in Angel Investing” kicked off a year wherein WEGate will be focusing on access to finance in particular. Indeed, the WEGate Barometer has shown this to be a crucial barrier to more women entrepreneurship.
As was found in the WA4E research done by BAE, a key part of the struggle of women entrepreneurs to raise finance for their business, is the severe lack of women investors that evaluate their propositions.
Moderated by Claire Munck (CEO of BeAngels and Scalefund, Belgium), the panel discussed best practices in Europe on having more women investors, and thus, bettering the access to finance climate in Europe.
First, the panel started with a testimonial from a women entrepreneur: Caroline Ramade, CEO of 50Intech, who spoke about the importance of having a women investor on your side. She also outlined why women investors align with her initiative that ictively working to achieve 50% representation of women in Tech by 2050.
Florence Richardson, President of Femmes Business Angels (France) spoke about the situation in France: less than 15% of business angel investors are women, and men teams capture 88% of the funds raised. She spoke about how her angel network is raising awareness, organizing trainings and creating an open, convivial and trusting environment for women to start. Furthermore, Richardson featured WinEquity: a new investment fund that focusses on startups with at least one female founder.
Ute Guenther, President of Business Angels Netzwerken Deutschland, the German national angel federation, explained the “Women Angels Mission ‘25” which has the goal of having 25% share of women angel investors in 2025. This will be done through multiple initiatives in events, amongst which the “Golden Aurora Award”, awarded to Europe’s best women angel investor.
Jenny Tooth, CEO of UKBAA (United Kingdom) spoke about the potential of having parity between women and male angel investors in the UK: namely, if women invest as much as men do, a further £250 billion could be added to the UK economy. To reach that goal, UKBAA has set up the “Investing in Women Code”: commitment by financial services firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. 134 financial organisations have signed up to the code, totalling a combined investment power of nearly £1 trillion.
Finally, Elizabeth Pauchet, spoke about her personal reasons for becoming an angel investor. Importantly, hers was a testimony to the unique perspective and value that women investors can bring to the support of startups, namely: more empathy and understanding for the trials of being an entrepreneur.
Munck closed the event by pledging to organize a European women angel forum in 2022, to bring all European women angels and their best practices together.