Think of your cookie-cutter entrepreneur. Is he white? A man? If a Jeff Bezos-type comes to mind, you’re right on the money. According to research commissioned by HSBC, only a minuscule three percent of total capital goes to female-founded businesses.
Add to that the challenges of navigating a post-pandemic economy in 2020, women bosses truly have their work cut out for them, to say the least (as if they haven’t already, since time immemorial).
To say this year has been a whirlwind of change is an understatement. As both positive COVID-19 cases and unemployment rates increase, marketing buzzwords like the ‘new normal’ feel increasingly blithe; unable to summarise the magnitude of misfortune that has descended upon the sick, the tired and the made-redundant.
Some, however, see this period of time as an opportunity — one out of three prospective female business owners in Hong Kong, in fact. Challenges that face such ambitious endeavours, like raising capital and perfecting pitches, are already immense, but even more so for a demographic with a smaller share of visible, successful role models.
The future is geared for female entrepreneurs; at least, that’s what HSBC Private Banking and AllBright — a member’s club and community for female founders — have their fingers crossed for. The third and final instalment of their FoundHer summit was recently hosted via livestream in Hong Kong.
FoundHer — a four-day digital programme hosted for prospective female entrepreneurs — comprised events ranging from investment workshops to a virtual pitch day. This series addressed challenges and obstacles highlighted in HSBC’s recently commissioned ‘She’s the Business‘ report, with key findings identifying the continued existence of gender bias in the path for securing capital.
“The current challenges for female entrepreneurs are countless, but our community has shown that they are as resilient as ever,” said Debbie Wosskow OBE, co-founder of AllBright. “Although COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting women’s careers and the growth plans of female entrepreneurs around the world, many women are still planning to set up a business post-pandemic.”
The FoundHer summit was but one of HSBC’s recent programmes aiming at revitalising local communities. Over the summer, a Mind Matters hackathon, which invited the participation of over 120 NGOs to address and propose mental-health services in the city, was held. SLCO Community Resources Limited and the Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation are two organisations that made the final cut.