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Why Now is the Time to Invest in Female Founders

Jolene Delisle explores how innovative female founders are shaking up their various industries

Jolene Delisle, The Working Assembly

Founder and Head of Creative

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As a society, we've begun to recognise and cater to women as the primary purchaser in any household. This has empowered women to identify gaps they see within the shopping aisle as well as online. We are witnessing how that intuition is creating the most well known "Unicorns" being led by women CEOs and Founders. We're seeing creativity and innovation in how we navigate our communities (Nextdoor), how we dress (Rent the Runway), how we consume (Vimeo), how we plan (Zola), how we scale (Canva) and all being led by female founders. These founders are pushing their companies to respond to real cultural and market needs in a responsible way.

There is also growing demand for brands that show up and connect with genuine value and empathy. This is encouraging the next generation of prolific female founders to build the leading companies of tomorrow, vocalising their expectations for work, home, and elsewhere. But where will they be coming from? The pandemic and the resulting Great Resignation have signalled a change that has erupted in the workforce and driven more women outside corporate culture into entrepreneurialism. The reality is that the corporate world has been constructed and designed for men. Culture and society have built up walls that often exclude women. But with this challenge to the female workforce, we are seeing women building something new outside them. All of this is driving the uptick of new female founders and the call to invest back in those female founders. 

The reality is that the corporate world has been constructed and designed for men. Culture and society have built up walls that often exclude women

Jolene Delisle, Founder and Head of Creative, The Working Assembly

A few categories I believe are still ripe for innovation include health, fintech, and sustainable consumer goods. 

In terms of health – as a woman, I can confirm that women know their bodies best and the holistic needs they require. At this point, it is no secret that the antiquated male-designed healthcare system has not yet caught up. Additionally, since the beginning of medicine, a fraction of traditional research & development funding has been put towards transforming healthcare solutions for women and other underrepresented groups. For these reasons alone, it is clear that companies willing to invest real time, energy, and funding to create solutions to the unique healthcare needs of women as well as other underrepresented groups will have a built-in market of folks not only ready but excited to receive care, products, tools that are finally catered to their needs. 

Another area we are going to see investments being made is in women-led fintech companies. In particular, fintech as it pertains to the blockchain and crypto. The Web3 era has begun and it’s exciting to see such a wide array of possibilities. There are a plethora of new areas for women to have a critical footprint and stronghold in how we invest in financial wellbeing and literacy moving forward. 

Consumer products are the third area I see as being most ripe for innovation and investment. We are seeing a trend away from high waste, fast fashion, and goods being produced by folks (many times women) not receiving living wages. Due to this trend, we are going to continue to see women push the boundaries of consumer goods into items that last, are sustainable, and inventive. In some ways a return to the model of producing and consuming goods we saw a few generations ago. The difference is that we have the help of complex technology and research allowing companies willing to go the extra mile to create new avenues for producing goods in a sustainable as well as cost-effective way. A story that is not only important but often expected by savvy consumers these days. 

I look forward to seeing who is able to seize these opportunities to create much needed impact and change across industries to responsibly meet the needs of consumers. 

Guest Author

Jolene Delisle, The Working Assembly

Founder and Head of Creative

About

After being born into homelessness in South Korea and driven by the hardships endured in her formative years, Delisle is inspired to work with values-driven organizations and clients she can positively impact. Delisle co-founded her branding and creative agency The Working Assembly, while pregnant with her first child in 2017. Since then, she's been committed to working with female founders, empowering minority entrepreneurs and activating local endeavors. Currently, clients of The Working Assembly include unicorn startups like Zola and Klarna, cultural institutions like NYC Tourism and NYC Pride, as well as established brands like Evian and MassMutual. Since the agency's inception, the company has tripled revenue every year.

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