Today the study was presented ‘Female digital entrepreneurship: situation and prospecting’, carried out by the Institute for Women under the impulse, direction and implementation of Teresa Alarcos, independent director and president of W Startup Community, and with the collaboration of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Ontsi, Red.es and the Ministry of Affairs Economic and Digital Transformation.
The study is based on the results of a survey sent to 326 digital entrepreneurs at the beginning of 2020, which have allowed them to carry out the first photograph of female digital entrepreneurship in Spain thanks to the significant participation of those surveyed, almost 50%.
The survey has made it possible to understand motivations, challenges, barriers and needs for entrepreneurship and, above all, the difficulties that women still face when it comes to entrepreneurship in general and more specifically, in digital.
Its still low number of female entrepreneurs, only 14%, between founders and cofounders, a figure that is repeated in other European markets and in economies where this industry is more developed, such as the American one, which also reflects this.
Digital and technological entrepreneurship is the main engine of value creation in the economy in recent decades, an industry of 2.8 trillion according to the WEF report 2018-19 and although in many areas, both public and private organizations are aware of the relevance of this sector for the future, it is not yet being given the necessary boost because it is very atomized. It’s more, it is a traditionally male-dominated sector in which the female presence has been scarce and although there is a change in recent years, there is still a long way to go.
Digital startups founded by women in Spain are companies that operate in a wide variety of sectors, from consulting, education, mobility, sustainability or Fintech, to industry 4.0. They make use of disruptive technologies, where Artificial Intelligence (21%), Big Data (19%) and Web Applications (10%) stand out, followed by Blockchain, Robotization and Software Development with 6% each.
Entrepreneurial women They have a very different socioeconomic background and the vast majority are concentrated and have chosen Madrid to undertake, as well as Barcelona, Seville and Valencia, although they have a presence throughout the peninsula, as well as in the Balearic and Canary Islands.
About his role in the family, a relevant percentage (70%), affirm that it has not been an obstacle when undertaking, although it should be noted that the vast majority are women without children and with relatively young parents or who do not need care anyway. Those who have started a family see digital entrepreneurship as a way to organize their time and be their own bosses.
The gender perspective of female entrepreneurs is very interesting: 46.3% believe that gender does not influence success as an entrepreneur, although 42.3% perceive that their sector is much more demanding for women than for men.
Entrepreneurship is opportunity by 60%. However, in 39.8% of the cases it was a choice made due to frustration and the difficulties of promotion in salaried jobs, while 59.4% would recommend entrepreneurship to other women.
Early financing. A pending issue for female digital entrepreneurship One of the most important findings of the study is related to the financing of entrepreneurship: 60% of those surveyed affirm that they have had to rely on the family to undertake, since it has not been able to access sources of early financing. A clear difference compared to the male sector, which is clearly higher.
This lack of financing means that companies founded by women are smaller than those founded by men, less indebted and leveraged and that in a low percentage, they manage to access the economies of scale necessary to scale. This pattern is repeated in other markets.
To reduce the gender gap, it is clearly necessary to promote financial initiatives, to facilitate access to initial credit to start a business, enhance the role of Business Angels and Pre series A (the series A round is the second stage of financing a startup and the first stage of venture capital financing) and create public seed capital funds and crowdfunding tools, as well as incentives and tax deductions for investors and patrons.
Among the recommendations, the creation of specific entrepreneurship training programs aimed at women also stands out, publicize specific initiatives and events and normalize the figure of female entrepreneurs. Support to associations of digital women entrepreneurs and consolidation of the existing atomization.
It is urgent to incorporate the transversal gender perspective in all studies and the policies, plans and actions that are put in place to promote and support entrepreneurship in the digital environment, with the aim of eliminating all barriers that hinder women’s access to this field and promoting real and effective equality of treatment and opportunities.
The event held today was opened by Noelia Vera Ruiz-Herrera, Secretary of State for Equality and Against Gender Violence; Carme Artigas, Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence; Francisco Polo, High Commissioner for the Entrepreneurial Nation Spain; Antonio Colino, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Teresa M. Alarcos.