5 Strategies to Overcome Gender Bias in Entrepreneurship

5 Strategies to Overcome Gender Bias in Entrepreneurship

Persisting Amidst Venture Funding Bias

Being a female tech founder in a male-dominated industry can be challenging, especially when it comes to securing venture funding. Sheri Atwood, the founder and CEO of SupportPay, a popular expense-sharing app for women, single parents, and divorced families, has firsthand experience with gender bias in the tech startup environment.

In 2022, female-led startups received only two percent of the VC funds, making it an uphill battle for women entrepreneurs like Sheri. Facing countless rejections, she encountered gender-biased advice from investors who suggested that she “hire a young guy in a hoodie” or change her hair color to be taken more seriously.

Despite these biased remarks, Sheri refused to give up. With tough skin, determination, and grit, she persisted and stayed true to herself. Eventually, she found the right investors who recognized her talent and the value of her being a woman in the business. Her story highlights the importance of resilience and authenticity in navigating the unbalanced startup environment.

Overcoming Bias Through Assertive Communication

Beth Smith, a senior project manager in the medical field, encountered significant bias when taking over a failing project from a male counterpart. The lead physician questioned her intelligence and whether he should even talk to her, which left Beth stunned.

However, instead of succumbing to the bias, Beth took charge of the situation through assertive communication. She acknowledged the physician’s directness and suggested that he become the sponsor of the project. By maintaining eye contact, smiling, and showing confidence, Beth proved her capabilities and turned the physician into one of her strongest allies.

Beth’s story serves as a reminder that there’s a time and place for assertiveness and talent to shine. Sometimes, letting your skills do the talking for you is the most effective way to challenge bias and gain respect.

Highlighting Track Record to Counter Bias

Nyla Rose, the founder and editor-in-chief of JuseBeauty, a startup in the beauty industry, has encountered gender biases while pitching her business to potential investors. Instead of getting defensive, Nyla addressed the bias head-on by highlighting her track record of leadership and success.

By demonstrating her ability to manage and lead teams through data-driven examples, Nyla countered the gender bias confidently. For women entrepreneurs, overcoming bias requires a mix of self-confidence, preparation, and the ability to address biases directly without becoming defensive.

Nyla’s experience emphasizes the significance of focusing on professional achievements rather than gender when combating bias. By shifting the conversation to business potential and emphasizing qualifications and skills, women entrepreneurs can make a strong case for their ventures.

Securing Funding Through Resilience and Education

Yoana Wong, the co-founder of Secret Florists, dealt with gender bias when seeking funding for her startup. Despite facing numerous rejections based on biased assumptions and stereotypes, Yoana remained resilient and determined.

To overcome the bias, Yoana took proactive steps to educate herself on effective pitching strategies and hone her presentation skills. Seeking mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, she highlighted the unique strengths and potential of her business to emphasize its value proposition.

Through patience, belief in her abilities, and a refusal to give up, Yoana eventually secured funding from an angel investor who recognized the merit of her venture. Her story showcases the importance of resilience and perseverance in navigating and overcoming gender bias to achieve success.

Shifting Focus from Gender to Business Potential

In the tech industry, gender bias can often hamper the progress of female entrepreneurs. One entrepreneur, who prefers to remain anonymous, shared her experience of pitching a tech startup to potential investors and facing skepticism due to gender bias.

Determined to dispel doubts, she strategically shifted the focus from her gender to the business’s market potential and profitability. By backing her presentation with solid data, engaging in confident and assertive communication, and showcasing her expertise, she proved the bias wrong and secured the investment.

This story highlights the power of presenting a strong business case and shifting the narrative away from gender bias. By focusing on the value and potential of the business, female entrepreneurs can overcome biases and secure the support they deserve.

In conclusion, these stories from successful women entrepreneurs shed light on the challenges they faced and the strategies they employed to navigate and overcome gender bias. From persisting in the face of venture funding bias to countering bias through assertive communication and highlighting track records, these women demonstrate the importance of resilience, education, and shifting the focus from gender to business potential. Their experiences serve as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs to overcome biases and achieve their goals, regardless of gender.