Women own more than one quarter of U.S. small businesses. In recent years, women have started new businesses at about twice the rate of men, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. And yet, women receive less than 5 percent of dollars doled out in traditional small business loans, according to The Washington Post.
This Harvard Business School analysis confirms what women in entrepreneurship fear: Investors prefer ideas pitched by men, even when the content of the pitch is exactly the same. Attractive men are the most persuasive of all.
This gender bias is a clear barrier to securing venture capital. That’s one reason women are turning to crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter to get their businesses off the ground.
Many people believe that online, qualifications trump old-fashioned stereotypes, which makes the Kickstarter backing of women-owned small businesses seem promising. But does that philosophy actually have merit?