Investopia 2023: Women entrepreneurs discuss their role in investment community

Women-founded companies perform 63% better
Investopia 2023: Women entrepreneurs discuss their role in investment community
From the event

During Investopia Conference 2023 on 2-3 March in Abu Dhabi, prominent women entrepreneurs from around the world gathered to discuss initiatives that foster businesses based on good practices. Organized in partnership with The Helm, this session was moderated by Ms. Rachel Pether, Senior Advisor for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, and hosted panelists Lindsey Taylor Wood Founder & General Partner at The Helm; Huda Al-Lawati , Founder & CEO at Aliph Capital; and Nadine Benchaffai, founder Angel Investor.

Women entrepreneurs start businesses at a rate 1.5x higher than men, tackling the world’s biggest problems and spurring innovations that will shape our future. Yet, female-led investment firms receive just 2% of all venture capital, with a disproportionate amount being invested in consumer-focused funds. The speakers presented important facts about the realities that face female founders and solutions to address gender bias.

Lindsey Taylor Wood shined a spotlight on the huge discrepancy between investments received by men and women. Using data from Harvard Business School, she highlighted differences in questions asked during interviews that influence this division. She encouraged re-framing of narratives around good business practices. She also said that “decade’s worth of data from multiple institutions and resources clearly showcases that women-led businesses perform better, so why are we so wilfully engaging and ignoring that data”. She added that women-founded companies perform 63% better and 35% returns higher.

Read: Investopia 2023: Quantum computing investment is the new economy next 2 years

Huda Al Lawati explained that cheques are given in environments where women are usually not going to be in, offering an example from a Harvard study showcased that when two equally qualified individuals take the same interview and behave the same way with the same confidence level, qualified women are considered aggressive, and men would be defined as confident. She argued that the challenge here is neither about needing special training, experience nor skills but rather it is biased in the investment community.  “The biggest thing the investment community can do is not be biased in their assessment. The investment community should be open-minded and listen to people, no matter what group they “belong to”.

Explaining what would really help rebalance investments Nadine Benchaffai advised women need to manage funds to ensure change happens. Female investors can help erase bias; there is a need for more women on the investors’ side. Lindsey Taylor Wood believes the key lies in investing in female founders, and in female-led funds.

Lindsey Taylor Wood said women with wealth are the single greatest lever for change to happen. Huda Al-Lawati however cautioned that it does not matter who inherits the health; what matters is who manages the wealth. Women need to manage the funds to ensure things change. By investing in good businesses, regardless of gender, and reframing the narrative to focus on good business, we can create a more diverse and inclusive business landscape.

Investopia conference 2023 focused on the theme “Envisioning Opportunities in Times of Change” and three sub-themes: Envisioning Opportunities in Today’s Economy, The Future of the Wealth of Nations, and Growth Opportunities in Times of Decarbonization.  The conference this year included 35 sessions and roundtables, and brought together more than 2000 participants like investors, government officials, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs, from more than 40 countries.

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