Collaboration and confidence were the buzz words around the inaugural Women in Finance summit in London as female high-flyers from professions ranging from venture capitalists, fund managers and bankers to business owners and entrepreneurs experts spoke to peers and young and new players across a range of industries.
And collaboration and confidence were in abundance. The challenge – recognised, age-old and ongoing was that women and men need to encourage diversity in the workplace and in our individual lives. How come with so much money in the market looking for a business to invest in, too often don’t end up in female-run businesses? Why do so many women not own a financial product in their own right? Why do so many male industry figures not realise the value they can offer to female co-workers nor the value of females in their business?
Women in Finance
“A woman must have money and a room of her own,” Roxana Mohammadian-Molina’s grandmother told her throughout her childhood. As chief strategy officer of PSP property lending platform Blend Network, she has achieved both and encourages other women; property owners and investors to engage and not think they are not worth it as an investor.
Those looking for financial backers can also step up their demands, especially considering that women business owners are good prospects for investors and customers.
“The average size loan from a start-up loan company is £17,000 for a woman and £23,000 for a man. Why is it the women are asking for less than the men?” asks Julie Baker, head of enterprise and community finance, RBS & NatWest adding: “What we do know is the repayment is better from women- they do more thinking about it in terms of planning and forecasting – they know they can really repay it so they make better customers for banks or lenders.”
A message to investors and business owners
For investors and for business owners there was a key message not to over-focus on the bottom line. Venture capitalist
Anya Navidski, founding partner Voulex Partner, the venture capital firm that focuses on female business owners explained that business value is not just about the finance.
“Are business owners they just in it for the money? We don’t sit there and say, what does that financial model looks like and is it going to give us x return in three years or five years. We try and see what is going to be an amazing company and is it going to create value for people and customers and then we figure out the worth from there. If you sense that a business founder is just in it for the money then you switch off and say I’m done. Because it is about building great businesses and then the returns will come.”
An understanding few females in the industry – investors, customers, and business owners – would argue with, is that a woman has an entitlement, to much more money, and many more rooms of her own.