The participants pose for a group photo.

The way women found a company is different, but no less successful

February 14, 2024

Last Friday, February 9, 2024, the networking event “EmpowHER – Women as Entrepreneurs: Opportunities and Challenges on the Way to Founding a Company” took place in the context of the new BMWK program line “EXIST Women”. Member of the German parliament Dr. Anna Christmann was also present on the campus in Stuttgart-Vaihingen.
[Picture: Lisa Rößler, Fraunhofer IBP]

“With only 20 percent female founders, women are still significantly underrepresented in our start-up landscape,” said Dr. Anna Christmann, who is the start-up representative of the German Bundestag. This is set to change with the new program line “EXIST Women” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The aim is to support women at higher education institutions and research institutions by means of mentoring programs, individual coaching, networking, and funding. And: “At the University of Stuttgart, there is a large network of entrepreneurs that is supporting women in founding their own company.”

During a panel discussion, the 45 participants listened to the different experiences of experienced and aspiring female founders. At the end of the event, moderator Hannah Boomgaarden (Startup Autobahn) pointed out: “Women proceed in a different way when founding a company, but this doesn’t mean that they are less successful!”

The participants pose for a group photo.
The female founders used the event to learn from each other's experiences and strengthen their start-up plans.

A short break with snacks and drinks was followed by a World Café, where entrepreneurs and participants discussed the support women need in order to make the process of founding a company less difficult, become more visible, receive more funding, and be proud of their (financial) success. It became clear that successful role models are necessary to increase visibility and convince male investors, in particular, to invest in start-ups run by women. Statistically speaking, women-owned companies remain longer on the market than those led by men.

About EmpowHER

EmpowHER was the first nationwide event in the EXIST Women program. It was jointly initiated by various institutions, including the Transfer Center of the University of Stuttgart (TRACES), which brought EXIST Women to the university, as well as the Stuttgart Partnership Initiative Mass Personalization (SPI-MP) research association at the University of Stuttgart and the High Performance Center Mass Personalization, a collaboration between the University of Stuttgart and the four Fraunhofer Institutes IPA, IGB, IBP and IAO in Stuttgart.

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