Scratchpad knows the vast majority of support programs, like accelerators, don’t serve the female founder's specific needs. We are part of the solution.
In particular, women founders cite two major challenges that an accelerator needs to address to serve them: access to funding and collaborative culture of the accelerator.
Funding: One of the most well-documented challenges scalable, equity-oriented, female-founded companies face is securing funding to scale the business from VC’s. In 2016, less than 3% of all VC money went to female-founded companies (and this is a notable improvement from a decade ago) and female-founded companies were 16 times less likely to get any funding from VC’s. Female founders are less likely to grow companies with over $1M in revenue and less likely to receive private equity investments due to systemic biases in the market.
Our focus is to identify funders that intentionally invest a significant percentage of their funds in women-founded companies and get the companies in front of these investors.
Collaborative Culture: Women founders say they'd prefer a more collaborative environment in an accelerator. Many accelerators create an environment where firms are pitted against one another, competing for resources, mentors, etc.
Women that we have talked to say that they want to be in an environment where the focus is on all participants succeeding and they want to be involved in helping their peers succeed. Almost half of the female founders (48 percent) cite a lack of available mentors or advisors as holding them back, while only a third say lack of capital is a constraint.
We actively engage in cohort-building and peer mentorship. We intentionally focus on adding value to the companies without adding unnecessary competition.