CIO

Females in fintech program launched

Stone & Chalk offering education and mentoring for women working in financial technology sector

Not-for-profit fintech hub Stone & Chalk has launched a program for women working in the financial technology sector.

Funded by the Victorian government’s start-up support initiative LaunchVic, the ‘females in fintech’ program will offer education, mentoring and networking for all women working in the field.

“These pillars are aimed at directly helping women in the fintech ecosystem access connections to help accelerate careers and improve their businesses,” said Alan Tsen, general manager of Stone & Chalk Melbourne.

The education element of the program will focus on growing participants’ individual careers, leadership skills, customer growth abilities and funding readiness. The networking events and mentoring program will see those on the program connect with experienced mentors who can “help to amplify their connections and contribute to the successful growth of their businesses”.

The program’s manager and Stone & Chalk expert in residence Karen Cohen pointed to BCG research which found that when women business owners pitch their ideas to investors for early-stage capital, they receive significantly less than men.

“A disparity that averages more than $1 million,” Cohen said.

The same 2018 research found, however, that businesses founded by women deliver higher revenue than those founded by men, to the tune of more than twice as much per dollar invested.

A separate study in the UK by KPMG, which was published this month, found fintech firms with female founders performed far better than those led by males.

KPMG surveyed 91 fintech companies, of which nine had at least one female founder, and discovered that those with a female leaders had more than double the internal rate of return than those that didn’t. UK fintechs with a female founder or co-founder, typically achieved 133 per cent higher returns on paper for investors.

“While the number of female founders or co-founders is low, the fact that they typically achieve a higher rate of return is a clear vote for more diversity,” Anton Ruddenklau, global co-leader for fintech at KPMG, said.

The program is open to Stone & Chalk residents as well as other fintech startups within the Victorian ecosystem.

Applications close on June 30.