My name is Kutlwano Mabusela (she/her) and I am the co-founder of Brainbow Conscious Creatives. Chule Gobodo (she/her) and I have been co-founding sisters for over 13 years. We now have the privilege to laugh at, observe and praise our journey as female founders.
At Brainbow we have had a 13-year-old business that has had three major careers. A franchise owner, a production company and a creative agency. Our business journey started in 2010. In this journey we have never received capital investment from venture capitalists.
Women are one-half of the world’s population but only contribute to 37% of the global GDP. An economy cannot operate at its full potential if half of its population cannot fully contribute to it
As female founding partners we had and still have a voracious appetite for learning and development. We do admit that we had a lot to learn over the years to refine our offering.
Between Chule and myself we have applied and participated in over 10 business incubators between 2012-2021. The incubators were often directed towards female entrepreneurs and businesses run by people of colour.
Mostly we were expecting financial reward/investment over the years, cash money! Instead, we have some certificates to validate our offering.
I will never forget, one of the first business incubators we attended, we were shocked to hear that women-led businesses suffered higher levels of failure more than their male counterparts. Female founders lacked funding because they often concentrated on socio-economic problems in the market.
These female-run businesses wanted to serve communities and were advised to become non-profit entities instead. These businesses were not attractive to investors and where poorly researched. I had a bit of confusion, so it wasn’t enough to fund businesses that are interested in inclusion and equality for mankind?
A recent interview with the co-founder and CEO of the “Fearless Fund” Arian Simone, the first VC Fund built by women of colour (WOC) for women of colour (WOC). She laments that we need to diversify investors in order to bridge the inequality gap that is widening.
She also sites that less the 0,39% of women of colour businesses are invested in, out of an overall billion-dollar investment potential in North America. This is jaw dropping, less then 1% of women-owned POC businesses receive funding in North America!
Advancing women equality can add $12tn to global growth – McKinsey & Company
There is an uncanny connection between female founders not being funded and proximity. If majority of investors are a certain gender and race, then female founders do not feel tangible to them or familiar. The interesting thing is that these female founders desire to scale in order to become future investors and funders. So, the more cash investment is not ushered to female founders the less diverse investors we will have in the future. And the toxic cycle continues.
2020 made the whole world aware that there are many socio-economic issues catapulted by the pandemic. Social issues are being tackled by technological, financial, civic and educational institutions. And yet, the females that are creating solutions to the above are not invested in? Could the formula for a sustainable future lie in funding female businesses?