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Are Accelerators Accelerating the Gender Financing Gap?

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Can accelerators help close the gender financing gap? Only 11% of seed funding goes to female founders in emerging markets, and common wisdom would indicate that incubators, accelerators and seed funds can help close that gap. But surprising new research shows that the opposite might be true, and that investor bias might play a role.

Recent research by IFC and the World Bank Group Gender Innovation Lab, in partnership with Village Capital and We-Fi, found that accelerators actually widen the gender gap in equity financing. The study of more than 2,000 entrepreneurs found that male-led startups seem to reap the benefits of acceleration far more than their female-led counterparts, increasing the amount of equity they raise following an accelerator by 2.6 times as much as startups with a female founder. The analysis suggests that the gender makeup of the founding team strongly influences the disparity in capital raised, suggesting a potential bias in investor decision-making, or a higher perceived risk for female-led startups.

In this conversation, Village Capital CEO Allie Burns will lead a conversation with researchers and practitioners to discuss and analyze these findings as well as the next phase of research: testing out various strategies to mitigate investor bias.

Confirmed Panelists

Allie Burns, CEO, Village Capital

Shruti Chandrasekhar, IFC

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1 comment

  1. Good day, I am an entrepreneur in Cape Town (South Africa), can you please discuss with me the criteria to acquire funding. We need financial support to grow our business

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