Investment in female-led companies is painfully low. finnCap’s Ambition Nation: Female Leaders Series opens for registration this week, an exclusive event geared towards inspiring the ambitions of women in business, with one simple message: Think big, be bigger.
We discovered last year that a paltry 9% of growth investment went to female-led start-ups. As such, the scope to scale-up for our female leaders really leaves much to be desired.
With that in mind, this week we open registration to our next Ambition Nation event, part of the Female Leaders Series, which will be held in London’s Canary Wharf on March 15, 2018 - register your place today. The Female Leaders Series aims to inform and inspire ambitious female leaders with stories of scale-up success.
Watch the video from our first Female Leaders Series event in the series below
With Ambition Nation: Female Leaders, we will hear from female founders at every stage of growth, from early stage to multi-million-turnover companies, on one critical theme: Think Big, Be Bigger.
We need a different kind of advice
At our last event, where we took Ambition Nation to Manchester to speak to scale-up companies in the North West, panellist Vanda Murray OBE, Chairman of Fenner PLC, said: “Businesses need different types of advice at different stages of growth.”
It’s a succinct point but it has many layers. There are myriad reasons why investment in female-led businesses is not where we’d hope it would be; the reason we’re saying Think Big, Be Bigger is that we want to encourage women leaders at every stage of growth to reach beyond their perceived potential and immediately be thinking about the next level. In doing so we also want to engage more of the right types of investor.
How we’ll find the right investment for every stage
Our first panel discussion of the March session will hear from female leaders with businesses at the earlier stages of growth, out of the start-up phase and a few cautious paces into scale-up territory.
Our previous Ambition Nation report – incidentally, our latest report is released this week – demonstrated that finding the right investor and being able to identify the right kind of funding for growth is a key challenge faced by businesses at this stage. Finding a sounding board – an impartial financial advisor – is difficult, let alone knowing what the right investor looks like. Especially if, perhaps, you’ve never sought growth investment before. This opening session should assuage the minds of business leaders that have the determination and drive, but may need impartial advice on the direction and choosing your next investor.
Our second tier talk will then take things up a level, as we discuss the barriers to growth – what typically hampers growing a business in the throes of scale-up and what outside elements do successful entrepreneurs add into their growth strategy at this stage?
We will then hear from entrepreneurs that have conquered the more advanced stages of scale-up – the challenges they faced that spurned them to think much bigger. True to Vanda Murray’s word, businesses at this level of growth need to be seeking a very different kind of advice on what is the right kind of investment to push them further: a business looking to grow its revenue from say £3 million to £6 million has a very different perspective from one looking to grow from £30 million to £60 million. Proportionately it’s the same, but the physical act of planning for such a jump requires a wholly different mindset. You need to think differently – how does your product offering need to change at this point? Are there strategic partnerships that need to be leveraged?
Finally, we plan on looking at the upper echelons of growth strategy. When companies grow to the £100 million mark and beyond, the mindset for growth changes significantly. In many ways, your track record up until this point is immaterial. Thinking big takes on new meaning, and our panel of experts will put that perspective into context.
Diversity and the bottom line
It’s interesting that one key takeaway from our new Ambition Nation report – to be released this week and published in partnership with leading commentators ExplainTheMarket – is that entrepreneurs these days recognise a direct link between ensuring more diversity in the boardroom and a healthy bottom line. Needless to say this is an encouraging, if not long overdue mindset, and we’ll look at this in more detail in a blog when we return in the new year. Nevertheless, on a general level it’s good to see that attitudes towards diversity in management teams are changing.
For our female-led businesses, however, it’s increasingly incumbent upon us to demystify the financial investment landscape and open doors. These are hungry companies that we can help to supercharge their growth, and the first step is opening up a dialogue.
Join us for Ambition Nation: Female Leaders in March to hear from the very people that will do that. Register your place here.
And in the meantime, download our free guide for pitching your investment story to the right investors: Delivering a great pitch.