- SpeedUp Group’s Huge Thing announces Facilitating Female Founders Program
- It begins with the Female Founders Fundraising Academy – an initiative for assisting the more experienced business women – on December 11
- Visa Foundation is the Program’s partner
This December, Huge Thing – part of the Polish SpeedUp Group – announced the launch of the Facilitating Female Founders Program in partnership with Visa Foundation, its series of initiatives committed to helping female founders from Poland and Ukraine. This includes three editions of the Female Fundraising Academy and the Female Startup Pre-Accelerator program, which will altogether run until the end of 2026.
Background and Statistics
Huge Thing acknowledges that the modest amount of female founders remains a colossal challenge. There is no doubt that there are a lot of smart, active and experienced women, but still fairly few of them decide to found a company.
Indeed, a 2022 report by Boston Consulting Group and Sista reveals that only 10% of startups were founded by women. When it comes to raised capital, the numbers are even more humble – from 77 to 91% total raised capital goes to male-founded startups while female-led startups raised only from 1 to 5% of total raised capital. The exact percentage depends on the market, but this shows the idea of disproportion.
At the same time, research organized by Mass Challenge shows that female-led startups in 5 years achieve 10% higher incomes. It also states that every dollar invested in a female founded startup gave 78 cents of profit for the investor, whereas the same dollar invested in male founded startup earned 31 cents. These financial indicators show that there is great potential in female founders.
Practical Knowledge for Fundraising
Huge Thing’s Facilitating Female Founders Program starts off with the first Female Founders Fundraising Academy that will run for eight weeks. It targets founders who have already completed the initial funding round for their companies and are thinking about further business development.
‘The program will be offering practical knowledge focused on fundraising, including planning processes related to capital acquisition, preparation for discussions and negotiations with investors, developing startup valuations, and legal aspects related to this process. This knowledge will enable participants to dynamically scale their businesses in both local and global markets and to acquire the necessary capital,’ Huge Thing’s co-founder and CEO Monika Synoradzka explains.
‘Thanks to Female Founders Fundraising Academy our participants will have the opportunity to work with other female founders, share their experiences and present themselves to the group of VC and angel investors. Our program’s goal is to unleash this potential and prepare female entrepreneurs for effective fundraising,’ Huge Thing’s senior program manager Maria Tyka-Majewska adds.
To have a better program impact, it was decided to focus on two groups – Polish and Ukrainian citizens. In total, the two countries have 70 million people and 7k+ startups. Ms Tyka-Majewska assures that Huge Thing has a great understanding of both ecosystems and realizes the urgent need for such a program – especially when so many Ukrainians relocated to Poland due to Russia’s war against Ukraine.
More Opportunities for Female Founders to Come
Importantly, the program editions are independent. Each program addresses a different group of female-led startups and different challenges they have to manage.
‘In the Female Fundraising Academy, we want to focus on preparing founders for fundraising. That’s why our program includes financial and legal aspects. We want our participants to be fully aware of which financial indicators investors take a closer look at and how specific provisions in the investment agreement can influence day to day work or next rounds. The Female Founders Fundraising Academy addresses more experienced business women, who have already stepped on the entrepreneurial path,’ Ms Tyka-Majewska clarifies.
In 2024, the Female Startup Pre-Accelerator will launch. This initiative will be dedicated to less experienced entrepreneurs who struggle with starting their own businesses. It will put more emphasis on creating the basics of a startup: business model, customer development, team building, and, of course, technology.
The applications for the first edition of the initiative – Female Founders Fundraising Academy have opened on December 11th and run until February 11th. The initiative is supported by Visa Foundation.
‘Despite recent progress, women entrepreneurs still lack the resources needed to be successful. Visa Foundation welcomes this opportunity to help bridge gaps to accessing capital, skills, and networks as well as unlock the true potential of women founders from Poland and Ukraine.‘ Visa Foundation’s VP and head of investments and partnerships Najada Kumbuli sums up.
Applicants from other countries can apply to other Huge Thing programs, which will be announced in 2024.
Kostiantyn is a freelance writer from Crimea but based in Lviv. He loves writing about IT and high tech because those topics are always upbeat and he’s an inherent optimist!