European Investment Bank’s new initiatives to support female entrepreneurship

by DIANA DORAHY|14 September 2020

Nicole Denholder and Diana Dorahy held a quick interview about the European Investment Bank’s new initiatives to support female entrepreneurship. Here are the highligths of the EIB report!

EIB Report Highlights

Diana: You may remember last week, I talked about a new report put out by the European Investment Bank about funding women entrepreneurs and empowering growth. I thought we’d go through the report in more detail because there are a lot of initiatives that could have global application. Joining me now to break it down is Next Chapter Raise, founder Nicole Denholder.Nicole, a lot of reports get published each year, why was this one important?


Nicole: At its core, what we got was a really sound market overview of the funding landscape for women-led businesses. The report assessed the access to capital and trends in venture capital funding for women in not just the EU but the United States and Israel too.
Diana: Are we making any improvements in the funding gap?
Nicole: The bad news is, female-led startups still don’t have equivalent funding. We already know that these businesses account for a very small portion of the overall deal flow. The reasons there are the same as they are everywhere: a lack of female representation among founders and investors, gender investment bias and general risk aversion by women. But, the good news is, the outlook is positive. The data – all supplied by Pitchbook, by the way – suggests that the investment climate for women entrepreneurs in the EU is slowly improving.
Diana: What about bootstrapping, do female founders in Europe fall into the trap there as they do elsewhere in the world? Nicole: Yes, they do which ultimately creates a smaller demand for external financing. That’s a mindset shift which will only be solved through education, community support and access to investors. But the other issue that should take less time to change, or be easier to address is the lack of representation of women in decision making roles at venture capital firms. If they did even up, I think we’d see a significant flow-on effect. As it is today, women partners are more than twice as likely to invest in women-led enterprises in Europe and three as likely to invest in enterprises with women CEOs.
Diana: What are some of the recommendations the EIB makes?

Nicole: There are a raft of both short and long term recommendations. These have then been further divided into four categories: policy, financing, advising and awareness.
Some examples include:

  • the introduction of new gender KPIs in all relevant EU programmes
  • providing a seal of excellence for investors rewarding gender-based investments
  • building a European network of “gender-conscious” investors to provide female founders with connections and funding opportunities
  • and exploring innovative financing solutions like dedicated co-investment with women-led venture funds, dedicated impact funds, funds with a female investment focus and “gender-bonds”
  • Plus, systematic monitoring of gender data across these funding programs

Diana: Thanks Nicole, let’s see how this translates into more funding for female founders. Where can people read the full report?

Nicole: Just go onto our website, Next Chapter Raise dot com and head to our newsroom. We’ll put the link in there. There are some interesting case studies in there so go and have a read.
Diana: Thanks Nicole.