New initiative supports female entrepreneurs

In the face of the continued negative economic impact brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19), two of the world’s most influential tech communities – the Founder Institute and WomenTech Network – have joined forces to create the Female Founder Program. Aimed at bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Europe, it prioritises supporting women entrepreneurs.

A global programme to help women succeed

As part of the Amsterdam – Silicon Valley Virtual 2021 programme, this online initiative aims to retain the progress made in recent years when it comes to female entrepreneurship. Various reports warn that COVID-19 could reverse the last 30 years of female economic gains, making it important to take action and ensure women can succeed.

Participants will have access to over €1.5 million in partner deals and resources. Additionally, they will receive guidance from more than 100 entrepreneurs and experts and join an international support network of investors, corporates and advisors.

Amsterdam canal houses

A strong partnership for change

As the world’s largest pre-seed accelerator with chapters across 90 countries and its main headquarters in Silicon Valley, Founder Institute has already focused on improving the gender gap in tech through its Female Founder Initiative.

In an interview with 150sec, Rachel Sheppard, Founder Institute’s global marketing manager and co-creator of the Female Founder Initiative, said, “To improve the gender balance in technology worldwide, we must support female founders at the early stage to launch, grow and fund their companies.”

Meanwhile, the Amsterdam-based WomenTech Network already comprises the world’s largest community for women in tech and has more than 4,200 ambassadors representing 161 countries.

Women are juggling their personal and professional lives

In April 2020, a survey focusing on Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem revealed the impact of coronavirus on local women founders and freelancers. According to the survey, the crisis led to a reduction in revenue for 77% of all respondents. Most women also reported that the pandemic made balancing their personal and professional lives more difficult – with 40% of respondents having children living at home.

A more recent study from the International Monetary Fund stated that women are more likely than men to run businesses in areas hit hardest by social distancing and other safety measures, including retail, the service industries, tourism and hospitality. Additionally, another survey from the Female Founders Alliance found the economic effects of the pandemic have slowed the number of businesses being launched by women.

Encouraging diversity in Amsterdam’s startup ecosystem

The new initiative closely aligns with StartupAmsterdam’s Talent and Diversity pillar, which encourages women and people with a migrant background to work in fast-growing companies or start their own business.

To accomplish this, StartupAmsterdam brings the public and private sectors together in support of local startups, scale-ups, entrepreneurs and other members of the city’s ecosystem. It also participates in projects and initiatives that encourage entrepreneurship and serves as a valuable source of information and guidance.

Early-stage founders of tech startups who are interested in participating in the Female Founder Program are asked to apply by 21 February 2021. The programme will run from 23 March to 27 May 2021.

Read more startup news from around Amsterdam or check out this startup map of the city.