Netcompany and Tech Nordic Advocates supporting the next generation of female tech entrepreneurs

CEO & Founder of Tech Nordic Advocates (TNA) Jeanette Carlsson gives her perspective on what challenges and opportunities that female tech entrepreneurs meet today - and how a partnership with Netcompany can help them develop their business.

What are the challenges facing female entrepreneurs in the IT industry?

There are several key challenges facing female entrepreneurs in the IT industry. Lack of female role models is a key one. 'Seeing is believing', we women inspire and motivate other women to 'dare'. The low number of female entrepreneurs in the IT industry is a key barrier to other women choosing tech entrepreneurship as a career. Risk/lack of financial security and access to networks are others. The low number of women among tech entrepreneurs and a heavily male dominated space make many women feel under-confident that they can get the right support and guidance if they choose to become tech entrepreneurs. Lack of access to capital is another substantial barrier. It is a well-known fact that less than 1.5% of venture capital is invested in women-only led businesses, making lack of access to capital a key impediment to women choosing to launch tech businesses.

How does TNA and its partnership with Netcompany support female entrepreneurs’ success?

TNA runs Europe's only international growth programme to help aspiring female tech founders and leaders launch, grow and scale tech businesses, through a three-module programme, of which Netcompany is a leading partner, including 1) an international mentoring programme; 2) an international accelerator for tech businesses with high-growth potential, led by women and 3) an international umbrella venture fund organisation of investors committed to investing in female tech founders/leaders, thus addressing one-by-one the key challenges stated which are barriers to women choosing tech entrepreneurship as a career.

What value is generated in your partnerships with IT companies such as the one with Netcompany?

Netcompany and other programme partners make the international female tech founder/leader programme possible through financial contributions. Netcompany and other partners contribute significant know-how and skills development as mentors, coaches, experts and judges on the international mentoring, pre-accelerator bootcamp and accelerator programmes. More widely, as programme partners, Netcompany and other partners contribute substantially to raising awareness of the gender imbalance and lack of diversity in tech with associated consequences, as well as being a key partner in the programme, offering a solution to the stated challenges. 

In turn, the programme offers partners access to a whole new pool of female tech talent and entrepreneurs, new digital/technology driven innovations led by women, new potential clients, the international ecosystem involved in the programme and support for their own diversity and inclusion agendas.

What value do you see female entrepreneurs creating in the IT industry?

Women make up over 50% of the population and talent pool. To deliver sustainable innovation, growth and jobs, we need to make use of all talent. Evidence shows repeatedly that diverse teams and female founders deliver better performance and higher return on investment (ROI) than all male teams. Yet, as things stand, we are not making use of the female talent pool in tech entrepreneurship. Ideas are largely generated by men for men, tech businesses are built, grown and scaled by men for men, thus, generating lower than optimal ROI. Male founders with exits invest in new ventures led by men. It is a structural/endemic challenge that will not solve itself. At the same time, women have increasing purchasing power and influence buying decisions. Women are much less likely to buy solutions made by men for men. Overall, how are we going to continue to innovate and deliver sustainable growth and jobs for everyone in society, if ideas and businesses are created by only 50% of the population? More widely, in a modern world, how do we create equality in business, tech and society if women are effectively absent in tech innovation and entrepreneurship. Women offer immense talent of equal value to innovation, growth, job creation, business and society. Let’s unlock, use and stimulate that.