Unfounded.Ltd was a fictive startup with the power to unlock USD330 billion in annual global revenue. The company embodied the untapped financial potential that women represent for the global economy, and through a campaign targeting the financial community – we were aiming to help close the gender gap in finance.me for Equality and created a narrative of hope to inspire action and make change happen.
With this campaign, sprung from our global programme for Equality with CARE, the world’s top 100 investors received an investment opportunity from Unfounded.Ltd with the potential to unlock USD330 billion in annual global revenue. The twist? The company was not real; however, all the data and figures were – and so is the potential of women in business.
Together with the investment opportunity letter, investors also received a report covering the potential of women entrepreneurs. Because truth is, women and women-owned companies display a range of appealing financial characteristics compared to male equivalents with higher returns, lower risks and greater financial productivity.
“In terms of how effectively companies turn a dollar of investment into a dollar of revenue, startups founded and cofounded by women are significantly better financial investments. For every dollar of funding, these startups generated 78 cents, while male-founded startups generated less than half of that — just 31 cents.”Boston Consulting Group “Why women-owned start-ups are a better bet”
However, men traditionally dominate the financial sector and financial products and services have been designed by and for men. Women continually feel exasperated by the way financial companies serve them, citing disrespect, poor advice, contradictory policies, and seemingly endless red tape and one-size-fits-all forms.
So, we also created a compilation of tips and actions on how to address biases in the world of finance, and examples of initiatives on how to create positive change in parts of the world where it is needed the most. Because empowering women to create income for themselves and grow their ideas into businesses is key to lift entire communities and countries from poverty and create equal opportunities.
80 percent of women owned businesses with credit needs are either unserved or underserved. As a result, the financing gap – the difference between funding available and funding needed – is at an estimated USD 1.7 trillion in emerging and frontier markets.
By using the language of investors, we wanted to reach the individuals who make the judgement calls and write the checks.
Unfounded Ltd was part of the H&M Foundation’s global program on equality together with CARE. More than 200,000 women entrepreneurs in 18 countries were supported and able to 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.
In developing countries, 41 percent do not even have access to their own bank account, mobile phone or let alone the internet. In the world’s poorest communities, girls and women bear the brunt of poverty. In many countries, laws, political systems and social norms disadvantage women, for example by prohibiting property ownership. Women make up half the world’s population, yet female-founded start-ups only get about 3% of global venture dollar volume. 80% of women-owned businesses in the developing world have limited access to finance. If men and women could participate equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could rise by approximately 3% to 6%.
Unfounded Ltd is an investment opportunity that:
- Focuses on a global, largely unexplored market with significant potential for economic growth
- Has higher returns – 4.3 percentage points higher internal rate of return
- Comes with lower risks – 31% less risk than comparable investments
- Offers better financial efficiency – 47 cents more generated for every one dollar invested
- Is under-financed by USD1.7 trillion
- Has profound social and societal impact
- Will help fulfill a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 – by promoting equality, education and human rights
- Can potentially create an annual revenue of USD330 billion