Female entrepreneurs have a tough time raising funds. Women-led startups received just 2.3% of venture capital funding in 2020. Now, there’s an awareness to make positive changes for female founders. Playfair Capital and Global Ventures are launching Female Founder Office Hours (FFOH) across MENA to connect women founders to local and international investors to build new relationships, find new mentors, and secure funding.
Around 150 of the world’s top venture capital funds, including Atomico, Balderton, Creandum, EQT Ventures, Firstminute, Localglobe, Northzone, Notion, and Seedcamp, are part of the initiative.
FFOH, established in London in 2019 to increase the number of successful women-led companies, will host virtual mentoring sessions for over 400 women founders. It will include one-to-one office hour slots with female VC partners to provide advice, talks on how to fundraise, and foster new connections among female founders.
The founders network with various local and foreign investors to get multiple viewpoints on the company they are establishing.
The event is hosted by Playfair Capital, with support from Global Ventures in Dubai, Tech Nation, Google for Startups, and Words + Pixels. In the first seven editions, 1,307 entrepreneurs and 200 investors participated in 5,230 individual mentorship sessions. To date, 32% of founders have raised $302 million in funding after attending an event, according to a statement.
“The underrepresentation of women founders in venture capital funding is a global problem. We are, therefore, delighted to be expanding the initiative to MENA. This region is full of incredible talent and promise; yet, aside from a relatively small number of pioneers, it lacks the widespread support required for women who want to build globally significant companies. This event allows us to connect these women founders at scale, wherever they are located in the region, to local and international investors to build new relationships, find new mentors, and, ultimately, secure funding,” said Chris Smith, managing partner at Playfair Capital.
According to the statement, this eighth event is part of a continuing and long-term effort to address the gender imbalance in financing.
“While the VC ecosystem has made important strides in recent years, with 35% of tech entrepreneurs being female in MENA, there is still much work to be done. Diversity of leadership and thought are important factors shaping the future of MENA’s entrepreneurial landscape—female founders are a key part of that,” said Sacha Haider, partner at Global Ventures.