According to Startup Estonia and Statistics Estonia, there are 2,983 women working in the Estonian startup sector, which is about 36% of all startup employees. 196 startups founded in Estonia have at least one female founder.
Most of the female-founded startups operate in the fields of health (30%), education (28%) and communications (23%). Approximately 10 per cent of all female startup employees work in managerial positions.
In the world of startups and risk capital, the potential of women is not yet fully realized, according to the head of Startup Estonia, Eve Peeterson. “But we can see that young women in Estonia are bolder, more active, more ambitious and ready to take more risks,” she added. “The startup sector could have more 40+ women who have the knowledge and experience but often lack the courage to make a change in their career – to change positions or become entrepreneurs.”
The percentage of startups with female founders in Estonia is similar to that in the rest of Europe, being around 20 per cent. According to Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2020 around 14 per cent of all the startups in the world have women among their founders.
“I think it’s great that we have a growing number of female founders in Estonia,” Christa Torm, Estonian Investment Agancy’s Director of Business Development in Sweden said. “However, we need to also have a look at where private equity investments are going and raise awareness of the structural barriers that female founders have to face. There is plenty of research available that shows that women and men are not assessed equally and with misconceptions. A research from Luleå University brought an example that men are seen as young and promising while women are seen as young and unexperienced.”
“We at Invest Estonia believe in strong cross border cooperation and have therefore arranged a Nordic female entrepreneurs meetup in Tallinn together with Estonian Chamber of Commerce and in cooperation with our network partner Keiretsu Forum Nordics,” Torm added. “When discussing these topics it is important to remember to include men in the conversations because we need to include and not to exclude if we want to achieve successful change and have diversified teams.”
Startup Estonia is currently creating a plan to help diversify Estonia’s startup scene further, one of the objectives being raising the number of women among startup founders.
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