In September 2018 Rebecca Minkoff and Alison Wyatt established the Female Founder Collective, a nonprofit that curates content and resources for forward-thinking women in business. At its core, the collective is about business growth and supporting women. Today, in celebration of International Women’s Day, FFC is hosting a full program of educational and inspirational panels with female innovators and culture makers in Austin. SI Swimsuit sat down with Minkoff and Wyatt in advance of their Texas summit to discuss women in business and the role their collective can play in supporting female entrepreneurs.
Why is it important to celebrate and support female founders?
Wyatt: It’s important to celebrate and support female founders each and every day with our dollars as consumers. We’ve all seen and read about the real discrepancies between female founders and male founders in terms of getting venture capital. Networking is also very different for men and women. Men have long been taught to help each other out with business, we’re trying to step in and accomplish creating a community that supports one another with Female Founders Day.
How have you seen the landscape change over the past couple of years for women trying to start their own businesses?
Minkoff: When I started my business 17 years ago, it was very different. Even in fashion, I saw that while the workforce was predominantly women, men ruled those C-Suite and other executive positions. There was a lot of gatekeeping when it came to any talks of funding. The industry has changed in terms of more female leadership and open conversations about finance and funding, but we still have a long way to go for women to be seen and treated equally in the start-up world across all industries.
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What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Mikoff and Wyatt: Women have a tendency to try to “do it all.” And while yes, women are basically super-humans in their ability to get stuff done, doing-it-all is impossible in the context of your business. You need to prioritize and to delegate. Bring on a team of people and know that investing in them will more than make up for itself in your revenue returns and sanity returns.
What do each of you consider your greatest success?
Mikoff and Wyatt: Our success is the collective success of our founders because that is the real change we are trying to make in the world. We had an accelerator for example, and then women coming out of that have collectively raised more than $25 million. They have secured funding from some of the biggest funds, celebrities and organizations in the world. They are building businesses and building the future. Seeing women succeed… that’s our greatest success.
What do you hope for when it comes to women in business? What changes would you like to see?
Mikoff and Wyatt: We would love to see more women collaborating and giving each other exclusive opportunities that will put money into one another’s pockets. Too often we speak about how women need parity, but part of that is not thinking of it as a zero sum world, and instead recognizing that there is enough pie to go around, we just have to claim it. By working together and coming together, there is power in numbers and we’ll all rise.
What is your go-to song to feel empowered and get pumped up?
Wyatt: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem.
Mikoff: Anything Beyonce!
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