The representation of women in business angel networks (BANs) is disproportionately low at currently about 10% across Europe.The European Business Angel Network established the EBAN Gender community to address this issue, promote gender equity and achieve gender balance and equality in BANs and. While gender equality means giving everyone the same opportunities, gender equity requires adapting to specific needs to achieve equality in the end.
During a recent panel discussion featuring Brigitte Baumann, EBAN President Emeritus; Marta Huidobro, AEBAN Vice President; Guri Koiava, Co-Founder at Axel, Sona Veziryan, Director at BANA Angels, and Selma Prodanovic, EBAN VP, several key strategies were identified to increase women’s participation in BANs.
- Awareness Building
There needs to be greater awareness of angel investing, particularly among women who may not have heard of this investment opportunity. Additionally, it is important to raise awareness that angel investing can be started with a smaller investment of time, money, or knowledge.
- Joining a network
Networking is crucial, as it allows for the sharing of risks, responsibilities, and knowledge. Investors should contribute with what they know. They do not need to know everything, as someone else from the network can support them. Furthermore, networks allow for smaller co-investments, which can help build confidence in women investors who may be starting out. Diversification of investments across multiple businesses can also help reduce risk.
- Conscious Investing
Investing in sustainable businesses can be a good strategy to attract women investors who are often more interested in investing in companies with a deeper purpose. Flexibility of time is essential, as women (still) may spend more time taking care of their families. It is important to note that 6 pm to 8 pm is the worst time for women to participate in BANs, while morning might be a good solution.
- Capacity building
Education programs can be effective in attracting women to angel investing, as women tend to invest when they are educated and knowledgeable on the topic. Learning communities that provide a safe space for new investors to ask questions without fear of being viewed as ignorant can also help build confidence.
- Diversity benefits us all
To increase women’s participation, it is essential to let the whole network see the benefits of having women on board. Women-only groups can be an effective starting point for new female angels to learn and grow their confidence before investing in mixed-gender networks.
- Cross border investment and exchange
Finally, collaboration between networks in the same region can be useful, with dual membership being a possible strategy.
In conclusion, achieving gender balance in BANs is essential to ensure gender equality in the business world. By increasing women’s participation in angel investing, there is more money for everyone. To achieve this goal, greater awareness of angel investing is needed, along with networking opportunities, education programs, and flexibility in time. Creating safe spaces for women to learn and grow their confidence can also be an effective strategy. Gender equity requires adapting to specific needs, which can help achieve gender equality in the end.
You can rewatch the entire session below: