Investing in diversity to pave the way for female entrepreneurs

Investing in diversity to pave the way for female entrepreneurs

As the largest financial services group in the Nordics and one of the biggest banks in Europe, Nordea is using its influence and expertise to invest in value-driven initiatives, not only for entrepreneurs and startups, but also female founders within the tech sector in particular.

In addition to the diversity report, Nordea has launched a Global Gender Diversity Fund. The fund will invest in companies that actively seek to improve the gender balance, which increases the likelihood of finding the best employees possible and thus of optimizing results.

Investment in Europe’s technology ecosystem hit a record high in 2018 with the total sum reaching a staggering $23 billion. However, this sum did not come without a price of its own: the expense of diversity and inclusion.

With 93% of all funds raised last year by venture capital-backed companies going to all-male funding teams (https://2018.stateofeuropeantech.com/), it is clear that there is a distinct need to raise more awareness and create new pathways for women in technology.

In their report, Diversity as a value driver (Thematics, Nordea Research, 2018), Nordea found that the volatility of return on capital is much lower for companies with greater gender diversity in their leadership, be it at management or board level. So does this mean that diversity creates value? Absolutely. Nordea’s research also shows that the top 10% of companies, when it comes to stable returns, outperformed the rest by 75% over a period of 17 years.

Creating networking opportunities

Tech companies tend to grow much faster in the startup scene, and Nordea’s Startup and Growth Unit makes sure to provide support early on in their journey. The Unit works actively to connect relevant parties in the startup and growth customer market.

Nina Adam is Relationship Manager for Startup & Growth, and is keen to see more female founders in the tech sector. “We give value to companies through specialization and at the same time, bring females within our ecosystem together through our events and initiatives. This way, we get women investing in all kinds of segments and inspiring each other,” says Adam.

Earlier this year, Nordea invested in a valuable opportunity to unite business professionals from across sectors and borders, and was a partner of Europe´s largest diversity conference, SHE. The conference, which took place in Oslo, brought together leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, politicians, students and business professionals to highlight that better gender balance in business fuels innovation and growth.

Inspiring females of the future

The good news is that the female share of top leadership has doubled in the Nordics since 2004. The better news is that Nordea is leveraging the evidence that more female leadership gives more stable returns.

To help inspire and encourage more female entrepreneurs, Nordea also hosts a podcast, Superentreprenörerna. The podcast “highlights women in the industry and brings awareness to their stories,” says Co-host and Savings Specialist at Nordea, Camilla Bergström. “We don’t want to just talk about possibilities for women to have similar opportunities in the tech world as men, we want to create them”.

Nordea will continue to focus on its support for startups and entrepreneurs, while shining a spotlight over diversity in the process. Looking ahead, Nina and Camilla are both in agreement when it comes to how Nordea is differentiating from its competitors: “We have the same rules as everyone else, but we put in more resources and identify challenges through close collaboration and networking.

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