Just Fearless launches $100 million initiative for Female Founders globally
Every International Women's Day is a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change. Yet we still have a long way to go with in terms of lack of funding to help women entrepreneurs scale their businesses. To change this, Just Fearless is launching a $100 million initiative starting with issuing $10,000,000 in business grants in March exclusively for female founders. With only 6 percent of women entrepreneurs in the UAE getting funding and even less than 5 percent in other countries, the timing is both perfect and necessary, says the company.
Just Fearless founder, Kisha Mays, wants to lead the way for change with a plan to empower 1,000,000 female founders to generate a minimum of $1,000,000 in annual revenue by December 31, 2025, taking it from 3 percent to 10 percent of women entrepreneurs earning 7+ figures and adding $1 trillion to the global economy.
So we reached out to her to find out more about funding and gender bias.
Tell us a bit about Just Fearless and a bit about why this was created.
It is a global business development firm focused on accelerating the growth of small and medium size enterprises, particularly those owned by women. Even with my team working in different countries, I still felt we needed to do more and have a greater impact to help more women entrepreneurs scale. I had an idea to go big and that starts with helping 1 million women entrepreneurs generate a minimum of $1,000,000 in annual revenue by December 31, 2025. Currently less than 5 percent of Female Founded businesses generate 7 figures or higher. This is being done through the HERstory Connections membership organization. I created it because I saw a need to help women entrepreneurs fearlessly level the playing field in our global economy. There is so much more to come and I am thankful for it all.
Do you think there is a gender bias when it comes to funding? What do you attribute to this bias?
Absolutely as the data supports the fact that women around the world are vastly underfunded by VC funds and Angel investors. You might have some VC's say they are not getting applications or having trouble finding women-owned businesses and I don't see how that is possible. Maybe it is an unconscious bias of sorts. The facts are female founded businesses tend to outperform male founded businesses. Not just based on reports issued globally as those who invest in both tend to see it. Women need to be given the same opportunity for funding and return on investment will be amazing.
Why should more investors consider women and how do they get over this unconscious bias?
Entrepreneurship is jumping off of a cliff and building either an airplane or parachute on the way down. It is a risk no matter what. So the same risks that are taken with male founders should be taken with female founders. Make a choice to take a chance to be the change. Women are resourceful and powerful and always find a way to make it happen. That is why I am focused on investing in female founders. I do wish more media outlets would highlight those who are actually investing in women rather than only reporting on the problem which we all are aware of.
Congratulations on the launch of the $100 million fund - what is it for and what will qualify a female founder to get access to the grant you just announced? And since this is a global fund - what chance do GCC businesses have to access this fund?
Thank you so much. I believe in being the change that I want to see so I am doing something about the funding bias, which is truly a global issue. The HERstory Made Fund is exclusively for female founders and open to female founders in the GCC and around the world. All the requirements to qualify are on our website, so I would encourage every female founder to visit our site for more details.
As for women entrepreneurs in the GCC, the need is great so they should absolutely apply and will be equally considered. We are focused on helping a minimum 1 million female founders generate a minimum of $1,000,000 in annual revenue by December 31, 2025 with even bigger goals to come.
Do you plan to launch initiatives that are Middle East specific?
That is coming later this year to the UAE.. I cannot make any announcements just yet, but just stay tuned. If you are a woman entrepreneur, join our membership organization, HERstory Connections, to be the first to know and to apply to not only the fund but our grants as well. If you are thinking of starting a business, go to our website and sign up for our mailing list. It's HERstory Made!