Startup Europe and WeHubs explores challenges for supporting women web entrepreneurship: the first findings

WeHubs exploratory survey was run from April to September 2015 with the aim of understanding how women experience and assess services in the startup ecosystem and how they think those services could be made more accessible and better serve their needs. Main findings of the study are now made available by ECWT (European Centre for Women in Technology) the WeHubs partner in charge of the study, and summarized in 4 main infographics.

In terms of use and assessment of ecosystems and their services – the study highlights how women are mostly satisfied of the quality for mentoring, networking and events hosting services, while low levels of quality are frequently mentioned by almost half of respondents for  bank financial advice (61%), high speed internet access (41%), IP advice (48%), prototyping center (61%), legal advice (42%) and accounting (48%).


Other important emerging themes are related to gender biased treatment and work life balance, pinpointed in the Infographic on gender dimensions of web entrepreneurship -. 51% of women web entrepreneurs experienced gender biased treatment at least once in the work environment, often from stakeholders’ ecosystems representatives and/or bank and financial advisors. The survey shows that despite all these challenges, women have a big ability to overcome difficulties and reach their objectives: 61% of the respondents increased its level of self confidence after starting up. In contrast with the widely spread stereotype about women entrepreneurs lacking self confidence, our respondents witness how it is all about experience. In addition, work life balance is still experienced as a hindering factor by the vast majority of participants to the survey.


What measures women think would be most useful for making digital startup ecosystems working better for women? In women web entrepreneurs’ opinion, measures such as free tuition for mentorship (46%), female mentors/advisors (43%), female entrepreneurs as partners (41%), and family friendly arrangements would be highly desirable for improving support to women web entrepreneurs. For 76% of our sample, dedicated actions and services for women only would benefit the purpose of bringing more women to web entrepreneurship.


Based on these results and an ongoing dialogue with our project’s nodes, WeHubs will now proceed designing a scorecard for women friendly business support organizations, and several other services already on the agenda, such as e-mentoring trainings and tailored webinars for digital startup ecosystems.

Get access to WeHubs infographics here: