The word entrepreneur originates from the 13th century French verb, entreprendre; meaning to do something or to undertake. It is therefore fitting that the 10th Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow will be taking place in Paris, France on the 26th – 27th March, in what some would call the birthplace of the entrepreneur.

With France, championing startup culture, following the 2013 launch by the Ministère de l’Économie et des Finances (Ministry of the Economy and Finance) initiative, which set about actively promoting the development of startups; “French tech”, which aims is to improve “the clarity and coherence of public action in favour of startups”as well as to put “the front of the national and international scene the collective of French startups”.

The fruits of which are evident in the most recent Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019, published by Startup Genome, where Paris boasted at being amongst the top 10 Global Startup Ecosystems, with over 10,000 startups operating across the country.

However, in spite of such entrepreneurial enthusiasm, only 8 percent of founders in the French Capital are women, despite its high ranking on the world stage of startup and innovation. When looking at the most recent OECD report, published in 2018, one reasoning behind the comparatively low figure between male and female founded startups was that “making more money motivates men more than women to create a business, while pursuing an interest of hobby is a strong motivator for women.’

Although, when you weigh this reasoning against one of the key takeaways from our most recent roadshow, in Milan, Italy; ‘the key quality that investors look for in their investees is the entrepreneurial mindset that exudes both promise and potential, through genuine personal passion and belief.’ A much greater statistic should be placed beside the category of women founder, if their key drive in the French ecosystem is interest and hobby i.e. passion.

Nevertheless the OECD report, also stated that another explanation for the lack of women founders in the French ecosystem was the way in which women fund their venture, often relying on personal savings or spousal funds as opposed to bank loans. Along with the undertone of gender bias that is prevalent in leading policy industry, with men typically more engaged in capital-intensive industries.

Despite this, two out of the eight women founders named in the Financial Times’s Sifted article, Europe’s fastest growing startups with female founders – women to watch in 2020, originated in France; with Aziza Chaouachi, Cofounder and Chief Executive of travel startup, Leavy, and Aude Guo, Cofounder and Chief Executive of food startup, InnovaFeed. Hinting at the wheels of change, in the ecosystem as women founders continue to make leaps and bound year upon year.

With the Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow, we are hoping to positively contribute to this upward trajectory of progression of women entrepreneurs by providing an exclusive opportunity for 30 selected women founders, in Paris, to participate in our one and half day workshop event.

The event will include a networking cocktail at the US Embassy’s George Marshall Centre, with welcoming remarks from EYIF President, Nicholas Zylberglajt and a representative from the US diplomatic mission to France. Followed by a workshop day, where participants will be privy to a dynamic investors panel of some of Paris’ top VCs, a no holds barred Q&A sessions, and a speed mentoring sessions, with leading mentors who will be on hand to provide ad-hoc advice, to help our women founders to excel.

“As EYIF President, I’m excited to bring the Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow into such a prestigious and lively ecosystem, and bring attention and set about improving gender diversity through our project, which champions connectivity, collaboration, and creativity of women founders!” – EYIF President, Nicholas Zylberglajt.

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