International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual celebration of women and their achievements, demonstrating why empowering women is beneficial for everyone. It is a day to celebrate the achievements of women whilst also recognising that we still have a way to go towards gender parity. This year’s IWD theme #EachforEqual aims to highlight that equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive and collectively, each one of us can help build a gender equal world. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. This IWD we would like to showcase the amazing work our community is doing to empower women to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. We are using the occasion to shine the light on fantastic female entrepreneurs and it’s a day to think seriously about the power of entrepreneurship to drive social change.
The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, gender equal government, gender equal media coverage and gender equal workplaces and there needs to be more gender equality in health and wealth. There is still a very real pay gap, we have less women at a leadership level and the percentage of women in board-level roles is still very low. With only 20% of businesses in the UK run by a woman there’s still much work to do. Gender parity is not just an issue for women – £12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 if women started businesses at the same rate as men.
At Reload Greece we are inspired to make a difference, to help women start thriving businesses and work towards improving the statistics. The Reload Greece community is positively impacting female entrepreneurs in many ways. We have a team of 250 passionate and experienced business and academic mentors and a large percentage of our mentors are female. We feel passionate about the power of education, believing in yourself and gaining a strong mentor. This is hugely important for any entrepreneur but female role models can be a great source of support and inspiration through the various challenges a young entrepreneur will face.
Last year we provided inspiration and training to over 1,000 young entrepreneurs and a female founder won both our 2019 Young Entrepreneurs Programme and our RG Challenge19 programme. However, we still see a big gap between the number of female entrepreneurs actively involved in our Young Entrepreneurs Programme (which supports young people develop their innovative business ideas) and the number of female entrepreneurs participating in our RG Challenge accelerator programme (which supports early stage start ups to become investment ready). This trend of less female founders and board members is something that we would like to positively impact and if we all work together to help more women start businesses, it would have a massive impact.
This year we are working to support more female entrepreneurs and in particular, we are calling out to strong female founders to apply to our RG Challenge20 accelerator programme. We are committed to enhancing the journey of young female professionals and to particularly support those who are at the beginning of their professional journeys. We welcome talented female mentors to participate in our programmes and we recognise that it is also critical for us to enlist the support of strong male mentors, men who are willing to champion women in entrepreneurship. It is a shared journey of empowerment. IWD is an opportunity to push for actual change.
Reload Greece have supported many brilliant female entrepreneurs over the last seven years. To name a few – amazing social entrepreneur Leticia Galdon, Founder of PAZ.AI, who is building a bridge between the high tech industry and those affected by humanitarian crisis; Katerina Santikou, Founder of Workathlon, who is helping young people and businesses grow professionally and Kyriaki Mitsiou-Begg, Founder of Digital Health Technologies, who is developing software which will save lives, create new jobs and initiate huge cost savings for hospitals. These inspirational young founders have overcome obstacles and worked hard to create successful businesses. In our upcoming series of blogs we will be showcasing the entrepreneurial stories of a number of our successful alumni startup founders so watch this space for more inspiring stories. We are proud of the impact the Reload Greece community is having. We see International Women’s Day as an important opportunity to celebrate the amazing female entrepreneurs that are changing communities, technologies and lives and to be inspired by their work whilst also looking at how we can better support women into business. Let’s be inspired, and let’s be #EachforEqual.
Join our RG Challenge20 accelerator programme – applications open now!
Watch the RG YEP teams of young entrepreneurs pitch at the Young Entrepreneurs Programme Final Pitch Event at London Business School on Saturday 28th March – register here today.