Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 3

FOOD ENTREPRENEUR

COMMENTARY

Mind the gap

Female entrepreneurs remain largely
unseen, and that's a problem for everyone
BY MONICA WATROUS

March 3, 2020

©JOZEFMICIC - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

A

gender imbalance in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is squelching innovation and suppressing
industry growth. Female founders have significantly less access to capital and other resources required
to launch and sustain successful businesses - despite
generating strong returns and demonstrating superior
leadership capabilities.
"Businesses founded by women are often different
than businesses founded by men because they have
different insights and different needs," said Ciara Dilley,
vice-president of Transform Brands and Portfolio Innovation at PepsiCo, Inc. "Women are still the key decision
makers when it comes to purchasing and making food for
our families - a role that when combined with a woman's
persistence and solution-oriented mindset can open
countless new doors for innovation."
In 2019, companies founded solely by women
received 2.8% of the total venture capital invested in startups in the United States, a figure that edges up to 12% for
businesses with both male and female founders, according to PitchBook, a private market data company.
Females are underrepresented on the other side of
the table, too. Women account for 12% of decision makers
at U.S. venture capital firms, according to PitchBook. Last
year saw a record number of women - 52, up from 38 in
2018 - becoming first-time partners or general partners at
U.S. venture capital firms, based on a report from All Raise,
a non-profit dedicated to advancing female founders and
funders. The number of men named partner or general
partner grew even more in 2019, to 71 from 40 in 2018. Two
out of every three firms still have zero female partners.
Investors who fail to support female founders may be
leaving money on the table. A Boston Consulting Group
analysis found businesses started by women deliver higher revenue - more than two times as much per dollar invested - than those
founded by men, and
PitchBook data indicate female-founded
start-ups have a
consistent history of
exiting faster than
male-led start-ups.
Additionally,
women outranked
men on 17 of 19 capabilities that differentiate strong leaders
Monica Watrous is the managing
from average or poor
editor of Food Business News.
ones, according to the
Email mwatrous@sosland.com.

When the market rewards more
women and minorities with
opportunities, everyone benefits.
Harvard Business Review. Criteria for which women scored
higher than men included taking initiative, driving for
results, inspiring or motivating others and championing
change.
Launching a business is difficult enough; cultural
biases compound the challenges female entrepreneurs
must overcome. Several founders interviewed about this
topic described instances of harassment or exclusion and
a lopsided power dynamic in the food industry.
Trends are improving, however, as more networks,
programs and events are geared toward supporting women entrepreneurs. PepsiCo recently launched WomanMade, an initiative to advance female-founded businesses
in the food and beverage industry. At the inaugural WomanMade Expo West Challenge on March 6 in Anaheim,
Calif., 10 female entrepreneurs will pitch their business
plans to a panel of industry leaders for a chance to win
$100,000 in business grants.
The Hatchery Chicago, a food and beverage incubator, is set to host an event on March 10 in connection with
International Women's Day featuring women founders
and leaders, investors and finance experts and a workshop with Women's Business Development Center on
becoming a certified woman-owned business.
A lack of diversity in business leads to a lack of perspective, creativity and empathy that lays the foundation
for powerful innovation. When the market rewards more
women and minorities with opportunities, everyone
benefits. ▪
Food Business News

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Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020

Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020
Commentary - Mind the gap
What's in store for retail?
The plant-based revolutionaries
The Amazon effect
News
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 2
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - Commentary - Mind the gap
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - What's in store for retail?
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 5
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - The plant-based revolutionaries
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 7
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 8
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 9
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 10
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 11
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 12
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 13
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - The Amazon effect
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 15
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 16
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 17
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - News
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 19
Food Entrepreneur - March 3, 2020 - 20
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