Positive development for female entrepreneurship in Western Sweden
Since 2020, West Swedish Incubators has carried out joint competence development and entrepreneurial promotion activities such as arranging matchmaking events, pitch events, network meetings, lectures and participated in fairs to support entrepreneurs in the region. The proportion of women who have participated in these activities has increased by almost 10%. The incubators also see a positive increase in female entrepreneurship in general as the proportion of women in the incubator companies today is 22-42%, which varies between the West Swedish incubators.
– We have followed the development over a long period of time and see that the more we can focus on helping women as a group and also other minority groups in the target group, their share will increase and develop, and also bring other added value, says Klementina Österberg, CEO of GU Ventures and also chairman of the steering group for the collaboration project for the West Swedish incubators. West Swedish Incubators consists of eight incubators in western Sweden, which are Borås INK, Science Park Skövde, Innovatum Science Park in Trollhättan and the five Gothenburg-based incubators GU Ventures, Chalmers Ventures, Brewhouse Inkubator, Sahlgrenska Science Park, and Founders Loft, which collaborated in a special EU-funded project with the support of the Västra Götaland region, and the incubators themselves. The goal is to further sharpen the offer to the innovation companies by sharing networks, experiences and recipes for success, to create better conditions for the entrepreneurs with whom the incubators work.
“Many success examples”
Sustainability is a central area for West Swedish Incubators, both in the incubators’ own operations and in coaching and in development work with startup companies based on Agenda 2030’s goals for ecological, economic and social sustainability. One area where the incubators see that they can have a real impact is to work for increased gender equality and equal entrepreneurship. Historically, fewer women have started companies and been less able to find capital to finance their business idea. Since the start of the collaboration, West Swedish Incubators has seen positive effects and the incubators continue to highlight subjects and people to inspire more women to dare to invest in their dream.
Every year, the startup companies that the incubators support in what the distribution looks like from a gender perspective regarding both the operational team and the board are analyzed, and work to ensure that the companies find a balance that benefits their development. The initiatives that West Swedish Incubators plans ahead are to work with the recruitment of female board members.
– We see so many examples of success among the companies we work with where mixed and complete teams have contributed to increased competitiveness. A mixed team has direct access to more perspectives that can be valuable in, for example, product development and marketing strategies to find more business opportunities, says Stefan Dinér, CEO Borås INK and group leader for the work package in gender equality within West Swedish Incubators.