Women-led startups in Ireland have raised a record-breaking €234m in funding in 2022, according to a new report by TechIreland. This surpasses the previous year’s record of €230m and indicates that women have continued to perform well despite a drop in funding for startups in general.
The report also found that 1 in 4 startups that raised funding in 2022 had a female founder or co-founder, with 72 women-led startups raising funds. However, there is still a significant disparity between the average size of rounds into female-led startups and the overall startup population, which remains a concern.
Northern Ireland-based companies and sustainability startups fared poorly in comparison. The cleantech and sustainability sector attracted less than €2m last year, while Northern Ireland startups raised a total of just €4m, which is a small proportion of the island’s total. However, the report noted that companies in areas outside of Dublin performed well, with funding going to start-ups such as Kilkenny’s TransferMate and Galway’s Carrick Therapeutics.
The healthtech sector continued to top the funding by sector, with 22 companies raising a total of €106m. Start-ups specializing in enterprise tools secured €43m, with 16 companies sharing in that figure. Women-founded e-commerce start-ups jumped from just one the previous year to 11 companies last year.
Despite the positive news for women-led startups, there is still work to be done to address gender imbalance in the broader enterprise landscape. Enterprise Ireland has been focusing on increasing the number of women founding High Potential Startups and now offers support through The Level Project Action Planning Toolkit. The toolkit allows companies to assess their current situation and create an action plan around gender diversity challenges. Companies can then apply for a Level Project Consultancy Grant (80% funding), to engage a diversity expert to support the development of their strategy.
Moreover, companies with gender diversity in decision-making and leadership perform better. Research shows that they are more profitable, more productive, and deliver better returns on assets. Enhancing the gender balance of senior teams in businesses can help to attract and retain talent in an increasingly competitive environment.
The record-breaking funding for women-led startups in Ireland is a positive sign for the future. However, there is still work to be done to address gender imbalance in the broader enterprise landscape. Enterprise Ireland’s focus on increasing the number of women founding High Potential Startups is a step in the right direction. By harnessing the full talent and expertise of a diverse population, Ireland’s economic success can be driven through a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Speaking about the launch of this year’s Female Founder Funding Review, Chief Executive of TechIreland, John O’Dea said;
“When we reported the record €230 million in 2021, we thought it was an outlier. But women-led startups are pushing the bar higher each year, thanks to early stage backing from Enterprise Ireland and our investor community. We should continue to build on these strengths.’’
Download the report in full here: https://www.techireland.org/content/snapshots/Female%20Founder%20Funding%20Review%202023%20Edition.pdf
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