Entrepreneur warns Britons could miss ‘access to finance’ | Personal Finances | Finance
With previous professional experience in private banking and private equity, Ms. Pandolfino has been keen to share the privilege and knowledge she possesses with groups of under-represented entrepreneurs. She explained: “It is a financial empowerment platform that focuses on companies that are born out of diversity; woman, ethnic groups and LGBTQ +.
“I started Txeya because I came from a privileged position.
“I had much more access to financial and entrepreneurial skills as well as capital. All the other people who founded the project feel the same way. We want to empower our communities and help them succeed.
“Being an entrepreneur is a lonely place, you don’t have access to the things that someone who works in a big company has.”
Ms. Pandolfino explained that entrepreneurs need not only financial support, but also mental and emotional support from mentors who can understand the challenges they are going through.
She noted that the founding team at Txeya “all come from one of these verticals, so we try to stay true to that philosophy as we grow the business. “
She added, “Then we also provide a place for investors to come, and they can’t use that excuse of, ‘Oh, it’s hard to find proper representation.’ We have representation.”
Inclusion and diversity have been a hot topic for the past two years, especially in light of the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, but Ms Pandolfino noted that while companies can say a lot about these questions, they weren’t doing much.
Ms Pandolfino noted that while companies can say a lot about these issues, they don’t do much and said, “When I think back to where I started 20 years ago compared to current state of the market, the trend is generally positive, but I think we still need to create more effects and changes, but it will take time.
These barriers to inclusion are particularly relevant in the world of venture capital investment and entrepreneurship. Ms. Pandolfino adds: “It’s quite telling to us that many people we have spoken to don’t even know there is access to finance. They started their business without even knowing that there is a world of investors looking for a business like them.
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“Being a first-time entrepreneur is a challenge, especially when you’re younger and don’t know the financial markets or the rules of venture capital. It becomes exponentially more difficult if you come from a diverse background.
She added that there is an uplift of support for women-founded businesses that bridges this gender funding gap, but less support for other verticals.
She continued: “The UK actually has a very high female participation rate in entrepreneurship, it’s almost 40 percent. So that in itself is already a plus, but the funding issue is The second problem is, there’s a woman entrepreneur there, she just doesn’t have access to funding.
“Women make up about 50% of the population, but less than 6% of total funding goes to businesses founded by women. When you go down other verticals such as the black population and LGBTQ +, it’s less than one percent.
“Between men and women entrepreneurs in business, there is a 60/40 split, but if only six women are funded, we are not on an equal footing. The funding gap must be much smaller.
Studies have shown that the difference in business outlook between men and women begins around the age of 12-14.
These differences are taught and worsened with age, starting with subtle changes like the type of games boys are encouraged to play and the different language used when talking to girls in class.
Ms. Pandolfino explained, “If you think about executive programs at university, the benchmark for any student looking to become an entrepreneur is usually the CEO and that will be a male benchmark. Obviously that will start to change as there is more representation.
“But if one were to study an MBA, female CEOs would probably take a stand-alone course or module, but you don’t have to talk about it as a stand-alone thing and it does reverberate.”
“There is a domino effect of self-confidence when you see others doing what you want to do,” she added, not that the reverse is quite as true.
Ms. Pandolfino concluded: “The journey is quite heavy, especially for a non-university entrepreneur when it comes to preparing a business plan for example. It is not easy if you are doing it for the first time.
“I think it should start earlier than college. There is so much around a lot of topics to having a 360 degree young adult, but it goes beyond entrepreneurship; teaching people how to save, about retirement, things we are never taught.