A 2021 study revealed that all-women founding teams received only 1.4% of the €23.7 billion invested into startups, whereas all-male teams took up more than 90%  of the funding. 

This struggle to gain venture capital and networking support makes it difficult for women to expand their business despite a solid plan and experience, exposing them to exogenous shocks. A recent study revealed that women were 20% more likely than men to report business closures due to the pandemic.

For female entrepreneurs (who will be referred to as entrepreneurs) to succeed, they require venture capital and a robust network, which can be difficult to obtain through conventional means. Hence, HSBC and AllBright are working together to host HSBC ROAR – the free programme for female founders that can help them navigate the challenges of building and scaling a business. 

The programme takes place in the Hong Kong, SAR, UK, and US chapters and will take place over three months. Successful applicants can learn from a network of founders, coaches, and experts who will teach them about networking, audience building, and expansion. The inaugural programme launched in September 2021 but there are plans for a follow-up event this year. 

If you want to scale your business or consolidate growth plans, the programme can provide the tools, connections, and confidence you need to accomplish your goals. 

HSBC ROAR programme will cover several essential topics over the next few months to be hosted by different business leaders. Here’s a breakdown of the topics to be covered.

Funding: how to get the financial support you need

While many entrepreneurs were able to set up their business using an angel network of investors, they still face obstacles in obtaining funding from venture capitalist firms preventing them from scaling their business.

Venture capitalists often reject women-led businesses because they don’t attract as much funding as men, despite a proven business model and a successful track record. HSBC ROAR can teach female entrepreneurs how to address this issue by covering all potential funding options. 

In addition to funding coaches, equity fundraising experts and investors such as Julia Eliott Brown (CEO and Co-Founder of Enter The Arena) and Adrianna Samaniego (an investor at Female Founders Found) will give a talk on finding the best route to support your business venture. 

Furthermore, you will learn about the entire end-to-end process of obtaining the funding you need. We can help you along the process of making the right pitch to the right investors to increase your chances of successfully obtaining the funding you need to scale and grow your business.

Connecting: insights to networking and audience building

Entrepreneurs need more than just venture capital funding but also insight into networking and connecting with their audience. A study revealed that more than 10 per cent of entrepreneurs who scaled their business did so with the support of a successful mentor. HSBC ROAR is hosting a programme to help entrepreneurs build a network for their business that would help them be more successful. 

Moreover, the masterclass will also teach you how to reach out to the right audience on operating in multiple markets, something that can prove to be a hurdle for entrepreneurs. Research shows that female-owned (or diverse) businesses tend to suffer from implicit bias and how it affects consumer purchasing decisions. HSBC ROAR’s programme on networking and audience-building can show you how best to navigate this challenge by reaching out to the right audience and building a meaningful network with them.

The programme will be hosted by a team of network aficionados consisting of Edwina Dunn (OBE and founder of The Female Lead), Lisa Skeete Tatum (CEO and Co-founder of Landit), and Rachel Lim (Co-founder of Love, Bonito) to help you find the right audience and network group that can propel your business to new heights.

Accelerating: get the maximum results

A UK study revealed that female-led businesses are 44% the size of male-led businesses in terms of how much they contribute to the economy, and male entrepreneurs are five times more likely to scale up to £1 million in turnover than female-owned businesses. 

These findings suggest those female entrepreneurs face significant obstacles when expanding their business. The final chapter of HSBC ROAR seeks to address these challenges to aid growth and expansion.

Paula Quazi (Co-founder of Smol), Michelle Corderio Grant (Founder and CEO of Lively), and Shradha Sharma (Founder and CEO of YourStory Media Pvt. Ltd) will teach you how to apply what you have learnt to scale your business. The lessons you learn in this program will be applicable regardless of industry and region. 

Furthermore, the final stage of the program will cover points pertaining to expanding your business, such as retaining key talent, maintaining brand values, protecting company culture, and how to expand globally yet sustainably.

Fostering recovery through equity for women-led businesses

With the UK government now free to develop the financial regulatory regime that best suits their country, they are looking to focus on several areas that will prop up the economy, including diversity and inclusion. 

Focusing on diversity and inclusion can attract better talent by fostering a more inclusive working environment while positively contributing to the economy. A study revealed that women-led businesses can add over £230 billion to the economy if allowed to grow at the same rate as male-led companies, indicating that focusing on diversity and inclusion is a helpful investment instrument. 

As the world economy struggles due to recent events, providing equity to female-led businesses through equal access to support, funding, and networking can help pave the way for recovery, which highlights the importance of events, like HSBC ROAR because it highlights the importance of female entrepreneurs.

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