Your Funding Journey Begins Now

BY Nicole Denholder | May 19, 2020

Category : Community

We’re very excited to welcome you to the launch of Next Chapter Raise, Asia’s first female funding ecosystem designed by women, for women. As you start out on this journey with us, prepare to be educated, expect to be inspired and get ready to be connected with fellow founders, savvy investors and strategic advisors.

It’s been a long time coming and after two years of planning we’re very excited to finally be here. And what better time to talk about female funding and entrepreneurship than now?

We’ve all read the statistics; around 2% of venture capital goes to female-led businesses, only 7% of VC partners are female and typically women start with and raise 50% less capital than men.

Why the funding gap?

Getting funding is arguably the hardest and most necessary part of growing a business for any entrepreneur and these statistics show that this is especially so for women. But why does the funding gap exist? For all sorts of reasons but a lot of it comes down to gender bias whether intentional or not.

A report in Harvard Business Review found that male and female entrepreneurs get asked different questions by VCs which ultimately affects how much funding they get. It’s what’s termed “promotion” versus “prevention” questions. For example, a question to a man about income might be phrased; “how do you plan to monetize this” but for a woman it’s “how long will it take you to break even?”.

And yes, there are far fewer women VC investors than men but even they’re guilty of the same bias. So, how do we change this? Don’t accept the premise of the question. Yes, we’re borrowing from media training 101 here but if you change the way you answer prevention-style questions, you’ve got a much better chance of raising more funds. You can do that by reframing your answer so that it underlines the growth of your business.

Beyond the bias, why are women behind?

But gender bias aside, GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Model) research has found that compared to men, fewer women believe they have the capabilities for entrepreneurship. And it’s that lack of confidence that stops women starting businesses or asking for funding even when the signs are there they should. Perhaps surprisingly, this is worse in developed rather than developing economies.

At Next Chapter Raise, we’re setting out to change that. We believe female founders already have the ideas, the skills and the ambition, they’re just missing some of the key expansion tools. At the idea stage, it might be having access to regular news about funding opportunities. For our early stage founders, it may be understanding key investor terminology or knowing the essentials of a business plan. Our growth stage founders are well on their way but will probably need the skills to help them refine their pitch, value their business, understand the deal process and connect with investors.

So, how did we get to this point? For years, we’ve seen and met highly capable and intelligent women with brilliant ideas that struggle to be realised. The reality is, a lot of female entrepreneurs don’t know where or when to start funding nor which funding is right for them. Do you ask family and friends, pitch to an investor or apply for a government grant? What are the pros and cons associated with each type of funding option? And is funding aligned to my particular industry?

Our fundraising formula explained

Up until now, no-one has thought to put all this content in the one place – a place that is also designed to facilitate introductions to investor changemakers and provide a community where female founders can discuss and workshop ideas to reach their potential and get funded faster. That’s what Next Chapter Raise is all about and we can’t wait to see how this community grows and succeeds this year and beyond. And if we’re talking big picture, for us that means being part of a global change to achieve funding equality and ultimately, a more dynamic and innovative business landscape.

And the time is now, there’s a lot of change afoot. In Asia alone, there are more than 40 female membership communities seeking to work with female entrepreneurs and help improve their starting point. International companies want in as well with names such as Cartier and Veuve helping to raise the bar when it comes to female funding. Both have big annual competitions so watch out for those. We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with all the funding options available both here in Asia and around the world and we hope that you’ll take advantage of the ones that fit your industry and business profile. It’s the start of a new decade so let’s make it count. Let your funding journey begin now.

If you want to hear more about how Next Chapter Raise was started tune in to our podcast this month with NCR founder, Nicole Denholder. She’ll be talking all about her journey from life as a senior consultant at one of the big four accounting firms to launching the successful, Next Chapter Crowdfunding where her platform has already funded 95% of campaigns, before undertaking her biggest project yet; Next Chapter Raise.