Over 140 industry leaders attended the inaugural Women in Finance Summit in London on June 26, bringing together key players to motivate and inspire.
Collaboration and confidence were the buzz words as female high-flyers from professions ranging from venture capitalists, fund managers and bankers to business owners and entrepreneurs.
Thirty speakers, including keynote speaker Claire Fox, COO of Unicef UK, inspired and energised the audience at Grosvenor House.
Forty-six per cent of summit attendees were company leaders, 38pc were management, and 16pc described themselves as C-suite.
“A huge congratulations for such a successful summit and event last night. We thoroughly enjoyed it and were wowed by the calibre of talent in the room,” said The WealthiHer Network.
“The organisation from start to finish was first class, resulting in a full attendance and great atmosphere. The quality of speakers and content was also top drawer being just as relevant for men as it was women. Indeed one of the best events I have attended for a good few years,” agreed non-executive director Michael Ellwood.
Collaboration and confidence were in abundance.
The challenge – recognised, age-old and ongoing – was that women and men need to encourage diversity in the workplace and in our individual lives.
Women in Finance
“A woman must have money and a room of her own,” Roxana Mohammadian-Molina’s grandmother told her throughout her childhood.
As chief strategy officer of PSP property lending platform Blend Network, Mohammadian-Molina has achieved both and encourages other women – property owners and investors – to engage and not think they are not worthwhile.
Those looking for financial backers can also step up their demands, especially considering that women business owners are good prospects for investors and customers.
“The average size loan from a start-up loan company is £17,000 for a woman and £23,000 for a man. Why is it the women are asking for less than the men?” asked Julie Baker, head of enterprise and community finance, RBS & NatWest.
“What we do know is the repayment is better from women- they do more thinking about it in terms of planning and forecasting – they know they can really repay it, so they make better customers for banks or lenders.”
Message to investors and business owners
For investors and for business owners there was a key message: not to over-focus on the bottom line.
Venture capitalist Anya Navidski, founding partner Voulex Partner, the venture capital firm which focuses on female business owners, explained that business value is not just about the finance.
‘It is about building great businesses and then the returns will come’
“Are business owners they just in it for the money? We don’t sit there and say, ‘What does that financial model looks like and is it going to give us x return in three years or five years’. We try and see what is going to be an amazing company and is it going to create value for people and customers and then we figure out the worth from there. If you sense that a business founder is just in it for the money, then you switch off and say I’m done. Because it is about building great businesses and then the returns will come.”
An understanding few females in the industry – investors, customers, and business owners – would argue with, is that a woman has an entitlement, to much more money, and many more rooms of her own.
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