“Raising capital is also harder for start-ups with female founders. There is a general apprehension that they are not good at running businesses,” says Welsh. She gives a startling statistic: female-led start-ups only secure around 2 per cent of overall investment capital and often have to tap on their friends and family to raise funds.
“It is also difficult for female founders to raise funds for their startups as there are few women decision makers in venture capital firms. Only about 12 per cent of decision makers at VC firms are women, and most firms still don’t have a single female partner, according to an analysis last year. When women venture capitalists decide, they’re twice as likely to invest in female founding teams,” says Welsh.
What baffles her is that these statistics do not reflect the reality – that women are just as capable as men in business. In America, female-owned businesses grow two times faster than the national average. “Female-led organisations are also more profitable, better performing, and have higher profit compared to male-led companies”, according to a 2019 report by S&P Global.
Welsh believes that women supporting other women is the only way that women can rise and step into their power, whatever that may be. For a long time, many believed that a woman had to sacrifice family for their careers and vice versa. Welsh opines women can excel in more roles than one.
(Related: The eight laureates of the 2021 Cartier Women’s Initiative illustrate the power of the ripple effect)“Women are multi-dimensional; they have many roles in life – be it a female CEO, a fempreneur, a woman thought-leader, a mother, wife, sister, daughter – the list is endless.”
Embed CEO Renee Welsh believes women can succeed in their personal and professional lives.
To push this forward, she recently co-founded Crone Queen with her colleague and Embed’s chief marketing officer, Sara Paz. The both of them called the organisation Crone because of the term’s rich historical background.
“In ancient times, older women were village healers, wise ones and societal leaders. When patriarchal societies took hold, these women were viewed as a threat and their images distorted. The Healers became hags, the Wise Ones were labeled witches and the female leaders, the ‘crowned ones’ were labeled crones and burned at the stake,” says Welsh. “We want to inspire other women to stay true and own their most authentic selves, the best version of themselves, the crone queens.”
There’s still a lot more that companies can achieve at the senior executive level. But society’s progress in this area heartens Welsh.
“Today, I successfully lead a Chief Executive team with 50 per cent gender parity, something completely unheard of in the tech industry, and a model of what other companies aspire to achieve. I intend to play a more proactive role in mentoring, reverse mentoring, and inspiring other female leaders and women entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.”