Unfounded Ltd – a startup to help close the financial gender gap

Unfounded Ltd a startup to close the financial gap

The world’s top 100 investors received an investment opportunity from Unfounded Ltd with the potential to unlock USD 330 billion in annual global revenue. The twist? The company might not be real, but the all the data and figures are – and so is the potential of women in business. Women make up half the world’s population, yet female-founded start-ups only get about 3% of global venture dollar volume. By not giving women entrepreneurs equal access to finance, investors keep missing out on what could become the new Apple Inc. or Amazon.com – every year.

Unfounded Ltd a startup to close the financial gap

Unfounded Ltd is a metaphor for the immense and largely untapped business potential women and female-led businesses represent for the global economy. The financial characteristics of women have been translated into a could-be company – Unfounded Ltd – that was pitched to the top-100 global venture capital firms and investors. There was just one detail missing in the investment opportunity letter. Women. Based on data alone, this should be an investment opportunity that no investor can afford to overlook.

Sadly, statistics show otherwise. The finance gap has been estimated at USD1.7 trillion globally by the World Bank, despite a mountain of evidence highlighting women as a good investment. Women are strong savers, responsible borrowers and calculated risk-takers. Women entrepreneurs achieve higher rates of return, and if allowed to grow, enterprises led by women perform better in the stock market.

Unfounded Ltd is a metaphor for the immense and largely untapped business potential women and female-led businesses represent for the global economy.

Backing women entrepreneurs in 18 countries

Since 2014, H&M Foundation has supported CARE International’s work to ensure equal rights for women, through economic empowerment. These projects have helped more than 167,500 women entrepreneurs in 18 countries start their journey out of poverty and into financial self-sufficiency, that in turn leads to job creation and economic growth where it is needed most.

Unfounded Ltd is part of the H&M Foundation’s Global Program on Equality, raising awareness of the importance to re-define who can be a business leader. Why? Entire economies lose out when a substantial part of the population can’t realize its full potential. Including women in the global economy is crucial to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Unfounded Ltd - a campaign to help close the financial gender gap
Unfounded Ltd - a campaign to help close the financial gender gap

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Global Program for Equality

Women and girls around the world are disproportionately affected by poverty and discrimination. In all regions, women spend at least twice as much time as men on unpaid domestic work, but are often not allowed to make decisions that affect their own lives. Women from the poorest communities worldwide reveal enormous potential. Despite difficult circumstances, they can successfully change their own – and their family’s – future. Through H&M Foundation’s global program with CARE, almost 270,000 women were supported 2014-2020. The success of the women has been astounding, with their daily enterprise earnings increasing by an average of 91% across all countries.

Successful factory owner despite a tough start

25-year old Bara’a Al-Shobaki is one of seven siblings and lives in Jordan. When her father’s job wasn’t enough to support the whole family, her mother started buying and selling garments out of their small house. She became so successful that she had over 250 customers and started exporting to Syria. Perhaps this gave Bara’a the strength and determination to start her own business even though all banks initially turned her down.

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Growing up and selling products and services to make ends meet, inspired 35-year old Martha Sócola Morales to start her own stationary business once she graduated from university in Peru. When traditional banks wouldn’t give her a loan, she found a financial institution that focused on group loans for women only, and she could expand her business.