Like it or not, women looking to found businesses and grow them have a tough time. There are fewer women-led companies, those wanting to scale up have a harder time finding investors, receiving less cash when (and if) they do get investment. Which is all pretty surprising – because women-led ventures or those with women on the board are largely more profitable, have a lower risk profile and are as well sustained as any other business, introducing new skills and expanding the workforce.
The research proving this is irrefutable and from across the board – the IMF, McKinsey, the Harvard Business Review as well as countless other studies.
So if women started companies in similar numbers to men in the UK – 1.1m new businesses would arrive on the scene. Think what that would mean for employment, for the economy. But at the moment – pending a step change in entrepreneurial support culture as envisaged by the Rose Report – we still have a long way to go.
For women-led content creation companies, the mountains to climb reflect this overall picture. Women are substantially under-represented in the sector, starting with lower financial launch support, less human and social capital whichever way you assess it.
Which is why I am so delighted to be working with Creative England to launch the Female Founders: Scale-up Programme, funded by the National Lottery and the BFI.
A six-month programme targeting female founders of narrative screen-content companies, we are going to be tackling some of the toughest barriers in the industry to get our participants on the road to substantial growth. Growth in ambition, scale, profitability, audiences, IP, revenue models – you name it, we’re going to be covering it. We’re creating a demanding, exciting schedule to help build these ventures, taking their founders out of their comfort zones and helping them push ahead to break barriers.
They’ll be ably supported by a whole host of experienced women entrepreneurs who’ve been there, done it, got the t-shirt. We’ll build the support team depending on who’s in our cohort to ensure they’ve got all the network opportunities they need.
With a combination of tightly focused workshops, our cohort will have business coaching in between sessions to help bed in the gains. This programme will talk the talk and walk the walk.
And we’re going to face up to some uniquely female challenges too. Not only how you scale up in the hyper-competitive, discriminatory environment but how to balance this with possible caring responsibilities, confidence issues and other mental load-bearing. We’re going to be looking at the whole picture of scaling and what it means. It will be a refreshing challenge to share stories, ambitions and wins.
If this is the programme you’ve been looking for – apply. We’re open for business to find 10-15 narrative content companies who are hungry and primed for growth. You can find details here. We’re looking forward to meeting you, working with you and watching you soar.
Erica Wolfe-Murray works across the creative, cultural and tech sector helping companies to innovate through imaginative use of their intellectual assets/IP. Referred to by Forbes.com as ‘a leading innovation and business expert’, she is the author of ‘Simple Tips, Smart Ideas : Build a Bigger, Better Business’, shortlisted for the Business Book Awards 2020, Business Self-development category (judging 23.3.20). It’s full of easy-to-use advice on innovative ways to grow your business and is available from Foyles, Amazon and all other good bookshops.