We need more female entrepreneurs. Universities can help create them | Alice Gast and Alexsis de Raadt St James

Budding female entrepreneurs can overcome the gender funding gap with targeted support from universities

Samuel Beckett’s “Try again. Fail again. Fail better” has inspired generations of entrepreneurs. But who gets to try, fail and fail again? Men. For a sector that thrives on disruptive ideas, the startup world is surprisingly regressive when it comes to funding female-led innovation. This is where universities can step in.

The British Business Bank recently found that for every £1 of venture capital investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than a penny, all-male teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams receive 10p. The situation is mirrored across Europe, where 93 cents in every euro of venture capital goes to companies without a single woman on their founding team. This is a loss for the investors and for the world. Diversity fuels innovation, and the evidence shows that startups founded or cofounded by women make for significantly better financial investments.

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Professor Alice Gast is president of Imperial College London and Alexsis de Raadt St James is founder and managing partner of Merian Ventures

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