MEP Maria Walsh calls for the creation of first ever EU Female Founders’ Fund 

The Fine Gael MEP is calling on the European Investment Fund to eradicate the gender credit gap that exists for female-owned businesses

Fine Gael MEP Maria Walsh is calling for the creation of a Female Founders’ Fund, the first of its kind EU investment fund dedicated to providing private equity and venture capital funding to businesses founded or majority owned by women. 

Companies founded solely by women garnered just 2.4% of total venture capital invested in European start-ups in 2021, although women comprise close to 40% of all European entrepreneurs. The gender credit gap that persists for female-owned businesses worldwide is estimated at $1.5 trillion. 

MEP Maria Walsh has written to the European Investment Fund (EIF) today, International Women’s Day, to highlight the difficulties women continue to face in accessing finance as well as the urgent need for a dedicated fund to tackle the gender credit gap. 

MEP Maria Walsh said: 

“As we mark International Women’s Day today, there are women across Ireland and the EU struggling to access the finance they need to kick-start or grow their businesses. While we are familiar with the gender wage gap, we must also recognise the gender credit gap and the consequences it has for our economy 

“The fact that some high-quality female-led projects fail or are never brought to market, due to limited access to finance, perpetuates inequalities, stifles innovation and harms economic growth.

“Making it easier for female entrepreneurs to access the financial backing they need is imperative for the good of our society and our economy, and we must do everything we can to eradicate the gender finance gap that currently exists. In order to tackle the challenge, I have proposed the creation of a ‘Female Founders’ Fund’, the first of its kind EU equity fund dedicated to channelling investment into firms founded or majority owned by women.

“Similar to other initiatives from the European Investment Fund, this project would expand EIF’s investment capacity to support private equity and venture capital funds with investing in female-led businesses, in particular SMEs. The time to act is now; we cannot afford to allow the gender credit gap to stifle our growth for any longer.”