Levelling an uneven playing field for female logistics entrepreneurs

Logistics and Supply Chain News

By David B. Horne, Founder, Add then Multiply

There is plenty of money out there, with record levels of funding going into venture capital around the world. Global funding from venture capital firms broke through US$300 billion in 2020. There are also record numbers of businesses being established, with recent statistics showing 4.4 million new businesses in the USA and 726,000 in the UK in the past year. With millions of new businesses starting and hundreds of billions of dollars in the hands of investors, why is it so hard to match the two together?

Recently, I was talking with the senior partner of a mid-sized London VC firm, and he told me that in the past 12 months they received more than a thousand pitches for funding. They made 16 investments. That’s a hit rate of 1.6%. Like I said, raising funding to grow a business is hard work. 

The statistics are even worse if the entrepreneur seeking funding is female. In an in-depth study conducted by the British Business Bank on venture capital funding in the UK, less than 1% of VC funding went to all-female teams, and just 10% to mixed gender teams, with a whopping 89% going to all male teams. In the USA, just 2.3% of VC funding went to female entrepreneurs last year. There are similar statistics in many other countries around the world.

When I came across these statistics a couple of years ago, I knew I had to do something about it. I created an event called Funding Focus, which we held in the theatre at the London Stock Exchange in November 2019. The event was a great success, and Funding Focus became a business. The mission of Funding Focus is to level the uneven playing field that female and under-represented entrepreneurs of every gender face when raising capital. Two years on, we are about to run the 3rd Annual Funding Focus Conference. It will be held online on 23 November from 2-6pm UK time. Tickets are free and you can reserve your place here.

What relevance does this information have to the logistics industry? Part of the challenge is recognising that logistics is a male-dominated business. From research I have conducted, 22% of employees in logistics are women, with 17% holding the role of Chief Supply Chain Officer. The statistics for venture capital are similar, with just 13% and 15% of partners at American and Canadian venture firms, respectively, being female. A staggering 65% of venture capital firms have no female partners.

Logistics is booming. Fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic the world has seen huge growth in the demand for logistics. There has also been a real drive to more environmentally friendly logistics, as evidenced by the COP26 Conference in Glasgow. The combination of fast growth and change is ideal hunting ground for entrepreneurs, who seek to disrupt an industry by bringing new ideas, new technology and new teams of people to support them. All of that costs money.

There is great opportunity at the intersection of logistics and fundraising. There is also a great deal of challenge. Harnessing the power and influence of female entrepreneurs and senior managers, we can drive change and create a level playing field. This will take time, energy and sacrifice, and it will be worth it. A study published by Boston Consulting Group found that female-led businesses generated 2.5 times more revenue per dollar invested than male-led businesses. The financial case is clear.

Please help us to level the playing field and create a fairer world for every entrepreneur.

David B Horne is Founder of Add Then Multiply, a consultancy working exclusively with business founders who want to grow fast. David trained as a Chartered Accountant with PWC and his career includes being CFO of two companies listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market where he raised more than £100,000,000 in funding and bought or sold more than 20 companies. http://addthenmultiply.com

David is author of Amazon #1 bestselling Add Then Multiply – How small businesses can think like big businesses and achieve exponential growth. It sets out David’s proven FACE methodology – Fund, Acquire, Consolidate, Exit – which supports rapid growth. His book won the Business Self Development category at the Business Book Awards 2020 https://www.businessbookawards.co.uk

He is also the Founder of Funding Focus, a social enterprise whose mission is to level the uneven playing field that female and underrepresented entrepreneurs of all genders face when raising capital. We do this by raising awareness and providing education to founders, investors, NGOs and governments worldwide. We are committed to supporting UNSDG 4 – Quality Education and UNSDG 5 – Gender Equality. https://www.funding-focus.com

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