The title itself will invite many feedback and opinion. Nevertheless, I am just sharing my thoughts here.
Many investors say they invest in Founders themselves, but how many of them invested in Women? Have they specifically tried to identify promising women startups amongst the pool of upcoming startups to invest on and then take them to the next level as with men?
And when Men failed in their ventures, investors do not ‘see’ or consider those failures (yes, of course they are aware) as the ultimatum or signs of ‘weakness’, and they would still give them a chance to prove themselves over and over.
But for Women they are skeptical if they can start all over again to do well. The investors is worried to entrust women with more funds and that resulted these promising Womenpreneurs to grow slower than they should. I am referring to enterprising women that started from scratch and bootstrapping to get started and not those that already inherited successful family businesses.
So if we start a movement to support other women, like that one time when I started women cowork (community) space Hanawomen Hub in my quaint little office, we’re assumed to be feminists.
To this day, I still remember this clearly when I shared my post on a local startup group page, one male actually asked me WHY do I want to create a separate place for women. Not one but TWO males didn’t like the idea of seeing women having a space of their own. They say we are not helping women to be ‘inclusive’.
But what happen to women that wanted privacy to work or bring their kids with them while they work or remove their hijab when they work or pump milk without having to worry that they might distract male coworkers? Is that being feminist?
Even when we launched the BETA phase of a Women Crowdfunding platform, Hanafundme and shared the venture recently, one male actually scoffs at the idea and asked WHY do we want to fund women projects only when there are platforms that allows both genders to be funded? Question is, how many of those that funded were of Women? The % is little.
And yes, women do need help to shine through, to be seen, to be validated for their brilliant ideas and resilience, just like their male peers do.
I have shared my ventures with women too and while some supported the idea, they’d still prefer to support bigger coworking players because apparently they provided more exposure/better ambience for them. Nevermind that we provided more or less at huge fraction of cost. Nevermind that we needed them to help spread the word around.
Often, it never did.
The struggle is real. Not only women have challenges with investors that fail to see their potentials but even women themselves supported less of their fellow sisters ventures.
This is the sad truth of why we cant move ahead at the speed that we wanted — because regretfully we are part of the problem too.
In the US, there were successful women allies that invests in other women ventures and I have personally spoke to a few years back and witnessed how dynamic they were. They have this “pass it forward” spirit. Truly inspiring and impressive!
These women does not post about how expensive their travel, food, shoes, bags or parading LVs and Channels on their social medias, they posted about which women they have invested on and how it has impacted them.
Can we emulate this in Asia?
I have been wanting to replicate this here in our beloved country (Malaysia) like since forever but I am stuck. Because whenever I shared the dream to start this with some people (even Women themselves), they actually look at me as if I have grown horns on my forehead!
We can definitely do better than this. Women can do better if they truly stick as one and be less catty, less doubtful. Investors should also consider to spend at least 30% of their time scouring for promising women founders to invest on, don’t just wait for them to come to you. Invite them to come see you.