Although starting a business can be a difficult undertaking, it may be even more challenging for women. Often, unequal access to funding limits the best business concepts from women to be actualized, despite their skillset and potential for increased revenue.
In a webinar entitled, “Is VC Funding for Women Founders Getting Any Better?” organized by DealStreetAsia, a Singapore-based financial news website, women founders of startups shared their insights on addressing the gender disparity in venture capital funding. Among the panelists was Martha Sazon, president and chief executive of GCash, the Philippines’ leading mobile wallet which saw exponential customer growth during the pandemic and now has 46 million users.
During the event, Sazon shared nuggets of wisdom gained through years of experience in overcoming business challenges and achieving entrepreneurial success. Sazon shared six success tips for aspiring women entrepreneurs.
1. Build your network.
“Everything starts off with connection,” said Sazon. Finding a community of fellow women entrepreneurs can offer you connection, networking and support while going through the ups and downs of starting your business. She explained that it’s important to have someone who holds you accountable while having your back. The GCash leader also acknowledged her network which includes other GCash executives who saw her potential beyond her gender.
2. Build your business’ track record.
Sazon said that although connections matter in gaining access to capital funding, your business track record should tell a good story on how well you can sustain your business. “Your investors should be aware of what you do, what you know and what you stand for,” she said.
3. Substance and credibility make a huge difference.
In order for investors to take notice of your startup, Sazon said it’s important to be thoroughly prepared during business pitches and negotiations. Although some people might try to be confident and just “wing it,” Sazon advises aspiring entrepreneurs to do their homework, be prepared, and make sure to always have substance and credibility when speaking.
4. Find a mentor.
Mentorship helps women entrepreneurs make better decisions. Sazon said it’s vital to educate women in high school so they take the right course in college, arming them with the tools to eventually start a business. “Young girls should be given more right visual cues that women can succeed wherever they set their mind to,” she said.
5. Support other women.
There are easy ways for women-led startups to thrive, such as creating chat groups or building organizations to support fellow women entrepreneurs. “We need to be more conscious of supporting women and amplify diversity more.”
6. Communicate and believe in your purpose.
Credibility also shows when a woman entrepreneur is rooted in something deeper. “Articulate your purpose and believe in it. It will make you more bulletproof on the hurdles that may come along the way,” said Sazon. She said, “Be unfazed. Trust your capability. Trust your talent and you’ll get there.”
Sazon revealed that her purpose is to help Filipinos’ everyday life become better. She is leading GCash with the “Finance for All” vision by providing convenient and affordable digital products for Pinoys such as “Send Money,” “Bank Transfer,” “Pay Bills’ and more on the GCash app.
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