Monday, May 16, 2022

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean Wants to Increase VC Funding for Female Founders

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NSW Treasurer Matt Keen wants to “level the playing field” for female founders when it comes to accessing capital for their startups.

Speaking to the COSBOA National Small Business Summit today, Keen focused on the role of women in business, their underrepresentation “in our professions, our offices and our boardrooms” and improving women’s employment.

With Victoria already way ahead of NSW when it comes to initiatives for female founders, NSW’s lead money said he “asked Treasury to review a range of initiatives designed to break down the barriers female entrepreneurs face when looking to jump-start their businesses.”

Late last year, Keen announced: the Women’s Economic Opportunities Review, chaired by Chief Executive Women CEO Sam Mostyn to look at ways to improve the economic participation and security of women.

The Review covers equality in the workplace, the gender pay gap, improving leadership opportunities and the quality, affordability and accessibility of childcare for working parents.

“We want to improve the gender mix in all sectors, unleash a wave of female entrepreneurs and increase flexibility in the workplace,” Keen said at the summit.

“If we close that gap between reward, opportunity and participation, the legacy will be immense.”

As for venture capital for women, the treasure said: While the gender pay gap is often discussed, the gender gap is less well known, citing statistics well known to the startup industry: Globally, female-led startups received about 3% of venture capital – Australia is at least ahead of that benchmark with 5%.

“As venture capital investment in Australia has grown, a 2021 Australian Ombudsman for Small Businesses and Family Businesses survey of more than 600 women-led businesses shows that 43% view access to capital as a central barrier to growth,” said Keen.

“This is despite research suggesting that startups founded by women generate on average twice as much return as startups founded by men.”

The NSW treasurer is reportedly seeking $10 million to address the issues.

That figure matches the $10 million the Victorian government pledged 13 months ago to an investment fund to support women-led startups.

LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund runs over three years as a sidecar investment fund investing between $50,000 and $300,000 in between 40 and 60 female-led startups.

In December last year, it announced the first five startups it had supported.

Keen’s speech came the same day equity crowdfunding platform Microwd announced it would target female-founded startups for investment.

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