Berlin Cameron, Refinery29 aim to end startup gender gap

The duo, along with other partners, are launching a platform to help fun women-led businesses.

Women tend to be motivated by social good when entering the startup community, while men view the potential for a high salary to be of greater importance, according to new research revealed at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show.

The "This is Women’s Work: Stepping Up Startup Culture" study, conducted by Refinery29 and WPP’s Berlin Cameron, revealed that women rank being part of something for social good at the same level of importance as their salary and entrepreneurship when entering the startup world.

Nearly one in eight women (77 percent) who are looking to work in startups say, "I want to work for a company that promotes ethnic diversity," the research states. Additionally, women currently at startups are two-thirds more likely than men to say they were motivated to join the company for the "opportunity to fill the ethnicity representation gap."

The research also revealed that women find women-owned business grants or loans sa the most useful asset in generating money for their startups, while men say networking at events is number one.

Some additional stats from the research include:

  • Women are twice as likely as men to have found a crowdfunding platform useful in fundraising and are 27 percent less likely to have utilized a personal loan.

  • When identifying their greatest hurdles during fundraising, women cite "male investors not understanding my idea" while men cite "investors questioning my sales numbers."

  • Women are 40 percent more likely to cite "anxiety over gender discrimination" as an emotional hurdle while fundraising.

In order to address all of these points and more, Berlin Cameron, Refinery29 - as well as social entrepreneur Dee Poku and strategist Serena Saitas - have teamed up to launch LLShe. The platform aims to support and help grow women-led businesses through commerce. LLShe’s offerings will include mass-scale pop-ups filled with women-founded companies in cities across the country; an online shopping destination on Refinery29 to help consumers easily find women-led businesses; and an educational component for women to learn about launching their own companies.

"Female-founded businesses are still not getting the support they need; in fact, only 2.2 percent of venture capital dollars went to businesses founded by women in 2018," said Jennifer DaSilva, president of Berlin Cameron, in a statement. "LLShe was built to grow the women-driven economy and change the disconnect in the leadership level of the business and investment community. By driving sales and awareness to women-led businesses through branding and advertising support, LLShe will find creative ways to scale and make all women’s business our business."  

The research was conducted in December and included responses from 1,000-plus men and women, ages 18 to 54, who are either entering, currently working in, or have left the startup space.

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