“Our economy does not represent us, and that needs to change.”

Why Wunderman Thompson is launching Fund Femme to support women and non-binary business founders

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director


How do you solve a problem like the gender funding gap? You start with doing something about it, rather than simply acknowledging the scale and complexity of the challenge. 

It’s this focus on action which powers Wunderman Thompson’s Fund Femme, a new global database of women and non-binary owned businesses, has launched to help tackle the gender inequality in the economy.

Despite making up 50% of the population and having 80% of spending power, women represent only 33% of business owners. A situation which has been exacerbated by the Coronavirus crisis with the economic and emotional burden and caring responsibilities disproportionately falling on women. 

According to Wunderman Thompson Covid-19 has dealt a massive blow to femme owned business with women-founded start-ups receiving 27% less funding. Similarly, women were a third more likely to work, or own a company, in a sector that was shut due to COVID-19 regulations last year. With the investment gap widening, small to medium owned femme businesses have become even more vulnerable.

Pip Hulbert, UK CEO of Wunderman Thompson, explained:  “Only 3% of Venture Capitalist funding currently goes to women owned businesses despite the fact they deliver higher revenue on average. That’s an imbalance that needs to change. We know the reasons why. I could reel off stats all day about the benefits of a balanced, representative economy. My hope is that Fund Femme, an initiative born from a group of smart, ambitious and passionate women, can be a part of that change, providing a platform for underrepresented businesses to flourish.”

Hulbert hopes that the platform will create a ripple effect; not just in the search for businesses to add to the platform, but prompting a genuine moment of contemplation as to how and who each individual spends their money. As she explains: “I’d urge everyone to think about the businesses you know that can join the movement, and how you use your spending power moving forward. Every pound plays a role in shifting the scale.”

Bridging the gender funding gap 

To help close this gap Fund Femme is designed to tip the scales and put balance back into the economy. The global platform allows consumers to discover, and shop from, women and non-binary business owners across beauty, fashion, food, homeware, technology, health and wellness, travel, fitness, arts and culture, media and charities.

At its core the platform is built on its mission to celebrate and promote femme founders, tell their stories and establish support networks for business owners via an editorial hub on the website and its Instagram page @FundFemme.

The aim is to create the world’s largest database of women and non-binary businesses. To this end entrepreneurs all over the world are invited to sign up and take part (click here to sign up.) 

Oriel Irvine Wells, Co-Founder of Fund Femme and Copywriter at Wunderman Thompson UK, explained: “Our economy does not represent us, and that needs to change. By giving businesses owned by women and non-binary people a platform, we hope to make people more aware of the many amazing founders out there who are often overlooked. By thinking more about who we support when we spend our money and changing our shopping habits to reflect this, we can create genuine, long-lasting change and bring our economy back into balance.”

Rebecca Dallimore, Founder and Owner of skincare brand Scintilla, which features on the platform, added:  “Following my passion for sustainability and skincare to start my own business was one of the scariest but most rewarding things I’ve ever done.”

She continued:  “Being a female founder of a small business comes with its own challenges but equally feels like a community. Being a part of directories like Fund Femme not only helps promote our businesses but gives us a valuable network of connections that can be a huge source of support and inspiration”.

As the industry looks to build back better in the wake of the global pandemic; not just acknowledging, but acting on inequality, will be a business imperative. 


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