Posted by & filed under City News, Inner West Independent.

An American company has teamed up with the City of Sydney to help women gain more access to investment dollars in the business sector.

The US-based NGO, Springboard Enterprises launched a program last Thursday promising to help female-owned companies achieve a larger slice of the capital pie.

These businesses are attracting five per cent of investment dollars and the consultancy firm seeks to amplify support through networking and mentoring.

Entrepreneur and investor Melissa Widner spoke at the launch.

“If 50 per cent of women are running the companies, then 50 per cent of investor capital should be going to women-run companies, not five per cent of capital.”

The disparity between male and female entrepreneurs correlates to men having better access to investment networks, as well as an ability for selfpromotion.

Women have been more reluctant about taking external capital to expand their businesses.

Springboard Chairperson Wendy Simpson said: “Men say ‘I’m the best, I’m the greatest’ and there can be a tendency for women to be too modest and not understand when they are talking to venture capitalists.”

Apart from linking female entrepreneurs with appropriate investment networks, Springboard uses two main initiatives to aid women in business.

“The first is to encourage women to go beyond having a small business to grow to a business where you will need investment. We will provide all of the encouragement, the training and the mentoring to the women,” she said.

“The second part is to talk with the investment community about what they might need to do to change.”

Founded in 2000, Springboard has generated US$4 billion in annual revenues through its mentoring program, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

Ms Widner said: “A lot of barriers are being broken down as women get access to these networks and it will be very interesting to see what happens in the next few years.”

The Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said: “Innovation, more than ever, is the name of the game.

“I would like to encourage the women entrepreneurs to do what women do so well – use your networks, use wordof- mouth and social media to encourage your friends and colleagues to register on the Springboard Enterprises website.”

“This will link local entrepreneurs into the global network of investors and industry experts and open new doors for growth.”

By Kate Horowitz