Female business leaders unite to transform investment landscape for start-ups led by women

  • A syndicate led by some of the most successful businesswomen from across the island of Ireland has been launched to address a chronic lack of diversity in funding and open up the world of investment to females.

    AwakenAngels, which is being powered by InterTradeIreland and the British Business Bank, is the first and only women-led angel investment syndicate on the island of Ireland investing in start-ups led by females.

    Co-founded by Mary McKenna, Denise McQuaid, Clare McGee, Sinead Crowley, Mary Carty and Mary Ann Pierce, it has also been created to empower female entrepreneurs and investors, democratise the investment process and fostering all-island collaboration.

    According to recent data, less than 3% of venture capital funding goes to female-founded companies, while only 1% goes to companies with mixed-gender founding teams. This lack of diversity in funding has a significant impact on the startup ecosystem, as it limits the opportunities for innovation and growth.

    The syndicate will provide access to early-stage funding, training, mentorship and networking opportunities to help female-led start-ups scale and achieve their full potential.

    Co-founder, Mary McKenna said: “We believe that diversity, equality and equity in the investment landscape is not only a moral imperative, but also a strategic advantage.

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    “By investing in start-ups led by women, we are unlocking the largely untapped economic contribution of women across Ireland, creating opportunities for innovation and growth.

    “As the first all-island women-led syndicate, AwakenAngels is pioneering the charge in Ireland and will transform the landscape of women-led investing.”

    The British Business Bank’s UK Network Director for the Devolved Nations, Susan Nightingale said the Bank is proud to support AwakenAngels and the vital work it will do in tackling the current lack of diversity in the investment landscape.

    Susan said: “The British Business Bank’s aim is to drive sustainable growth and prosperity by supporting access to finance for smaller businesses but when you see data for female-founded companies it is clear more work needs to be done.

    “The Bank is committed to levelling up the landscape for both female investors and entrepreneurs so more smaller businesses can start up and scale up.”

    The AwakenAngels syndicate includes a number of experienced Irish-connected investors with a strong track record of investing in high-growth companies across multiple sectors such as Sarah Friar, Katie Doran, Aine Kerr, Faye Walsh, Gillian McColgan. It also includes Sean Flood, Ronan Dunne and Bryan Keating.

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    Speaking about the AwakenAngels syndicate launch, Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager at InterTradeIreland said: “InterTradeIreland is delighted to support this initiative which aims change the investment landscape, making it easier, more accessible and more affordable for women to support women-led businesses.

    “AwakenAngels will help widen the funnel for women founders to access additional investment opportunities to build sustainable, scalable businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland. I look forward to seeing the benefits that the team at AwakenAngels will bring to the ecosystem across the island over the coming years.’’

    AwakenAngels is currently accepting expressions of interest from seasoned investors and first-time female investors who are interested in learning about the world of investment. By becoming an investor with AwakenAngels you will have access to curated deal flow, pitch events, a bespoke investor platform, training and resources, and the opportunity to join due diligence teams.

    The syndicate is also accepting applications from women-led start-ups across multiple sectors, including but not limited to technology, healthcare, consumer goods, and fintech who are on/embarking on their fundraising journey.

    Selected start-ups will receive seed investment as well as access to AwakenAngels a community of investors, mentors, and industry experts.

    Source: Written from press release 

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