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Interview with Natascha Grosser, SKW Schwarz

Women in the German start-up landscape are still more the exception than the rule. However, success stories such as Amorelie founder Lea-Sophie Cramer or Anna Alex and Julia Bösch, who together founded Outfittery, are evidence that change is taking place. For example, at the next Investors’ Circle on June 20, 2016, the Private Equity Forum NRW will be addressing the question “Do women have different reasons?”.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a women’s quota for the supervisory board of the 200 largest German companies, something that can not be specified for start-ups. What is the ratio of men / women to founders in your experience?

Greater:Do not paint the devil on the wall, otherwise some politician might still come up with the idea to introduce a quota system for founders. No, seriously: If you can believe the statistics, the ratio of women / men in business start-ups is 1: 3 or up to 40% share of women. From my consulting practice, I can only report that I know some women who have become self-employed, but own numbers would certainly not be representative of a universal statement. What is striking, however, is that female entrepreneurs are more likely to be found in industries that are more likely to be attributed to women per se, such as sales representatives for fashion and accessories, event management or media with a focus on fashion, events or children’s books. Regardless of the industry, over the last few years I’ve also noticed that women start-ups are predominantly one-woman shows. Of course, there are also counterexamples, women who start from the beginning, or at least very quickly, with business plan, financing, appropriate premises and permanent staff. For example, my best friend: she opened her own sports studio in Oberhausen years ago as part of a franchise, which she now runs very successfully. Frankly, she admires her untiring dedication and enthusiasm all the time, as well as the loving education of her child. start with business plan, financing, appropriate premises and permanent staff. For example, my best friend: she opened her own sports studio in Oberhausen years ago as part of a franchise, which she now runs very successfully. Frankly, she admires her untiring dedication and enthusiasm all the time, as well as the loving education of her child. start with business plan, financing, appropriate premises and permanent staff. For example, my best friend: she opened her own sports studio in Oberhausen years ago as part of a franchise, which she now runs very successfully. Frankly, she admires her untiring dedication and enthusiasm all the time, as well as the loving education of her child.

Founders are clearly underrepresented in public perception. Why do you think that is?

Greater:I do not think that perception has anything to do with women being less successful. In fact, there are fewer founders and therefore relatively less to report on what can be perceived. Why it is like that? At least in part, we are probably still stuck in an old role model. At some point, the question of having a baby or a career arises for a woman, with an emphasis on OR. The fact that both are no longer mutually exclusive nowadays is usually not pursued at all. In addition, in my opinion, women generally tend to be more cautious, that is, they prefer a steady and secure income rather than the risk of building something themselves. On the one hand, starting your own business offers a lot of opportunities and – albeit not right from the beginning – freedom, but of course: no chance without risk! The safe way is for most, not just women, then usually the better and more comfortable way.

Do you think there are ways and means to increase the number of female entrepreneurs – or to make existing ones more visible?

Greater:I do not think that any externally applied means, such as the already mentioned women’s quota on supervisory boards, are an appropriate approach. I am convinced that women are more in need of a rethinking process, but it is already in full swing. There are more and more female entrepreneurs and women in management positions over the past 15 to 20 years. And I think that this is a natural development process that does not require quotas or similar things. Good performance counts, regardless of gender or nationality. The women I know and who are successful in their job are true entrepreneurs. They do something in the true sense of the word. They “make” easy; and with a little bit of courage and luck also successful. In that regard, one should women, who at least have the idea to become self-employed, encourage self-confidently to take this step. My friend Caterina, whom I mentioned earlier, is, in my view, a shining example of how children and self-employment can be reconciled very well. Of this the German middle class needs much more!

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Shivam Singh
Founder of the TechGrits, has always looked at technology as a piece of knots. From an early age connected to the technological world, this is literally your dream job.