The Beat Funding Bias Initiative (BFBI)

The Beat Funding Bias Initiative (BFBI)

A systematic approach to promote gender equity and equality in the start-up ecosystem.

Based on the existing research, gender equity disparities might exist due to gender-based biased approaches within the start-up ecosystem and amongst investors (males and females), which may have an inadvertent impact on the total number and percentage of female-led start-ups being funded compared to male entrepreneurs in Switzerland.

The gender equity gap is one of the most high-profile and persistent problems in entrepreneurship. Female-led start-ups, or those with at least one female founder, receive a disproportionately small percentage of the flow of global venture capital. In 2019, only 11% of seed-funding capital in emerging markets went to companies with a woman on their founding team. Recent studies show that only 4% of Venture Capitalist (VC) funds go to female-led companies.

Further, scholars have pointed out that a leading cause for this disparity can often be attributed to an unconscious and/or unintentional bias pertaining to strong gender stereotypes entrenched within the process of acquiring needed capital or via other related investment means for start-up companies, as well as only 5% of all later-stage funding. This is the case despite overwhelming evidence that investing in gender-diverse teams leads to stronger business outcomes.

To better address gender equity disparities, the FE+MALE Think Tank has designed The Beat Funding Bias Initiative (BFBI) to lead efforts to push and build organizational capacity to favor gender-bias-free approaches to help remove funding barriers for female entrepreneurs in Switzerland.

The project includes the following activities during one year:

  1. Raising awareness
  2. Conducting targeted stakeholder workshops
  3. Online toolkit
  4. Market validation

What does Gender Bias mean exactly?

Gender bias refers to treating a person in a more or less favorable way based on their gender. Typically, gender bias occurs due to a set of beliefs that one gender is superior or inferior to the others. Gender bias can affect society in numerous ways, for instance, funding outcomes for female founders.

Everyone is biased to a certain extent, we use stereotypes and bias to classify our world; however, if bias is not acknowledged and happens unconsciously, it can cause harm without you even being aware that it is influencing your behavior and your decisions that might impact gender equity.

How does the pilot project work?

The pilot project approaches the issue from two dimensions: through the perspective of entrepreneurs and investors, and consists of an online toolkit to provide a systematic approach to strengthen processes systems, and best practices to help investors and entrepreneurs better identify and overcome existing operational shortfalls and gender equity gaps with their organizations.

The online toolkit includes videos, podcasts, articles, and other related materials as well as a assessment aimed to investors and a survey to train entrepreneurs.

The goals of the assessment are:

  • Raising awareness of gender equity gaps within participating organizations.
  • Identifying new opportunities for participants to improve decision-making processes that can better be addressing gender biases or gender equity gaps.

The assessment domains are focused on: demographic data and embedding a SWOT analysis for participants to become more self-aware in identifying and evaluating operational gaps and developing new capabilities in overcoming identified gaps.

This assessment can be used in conjunction with the Take a Test ( as it offers an objective assessment based on multiple questions that are validated. IATs are an established experimental method regularly employed by social psychologists to uncover prejudice based on associations. IATs consist of computerized sorting tasks and allow researchers to measure implicit associations between concepts.

The survey is developed for training purposes to specifically support investors and entrepreneurs alike to:

  • Encourage a broader gender-based equitable approach for investors in developing intentionally balanced questions which can serve to better screen entrepreneurs seeking capital more effectively
  • Building new skills for prospective female entrepreneurs to better prepare and/or competitively orientate the formulation of answers during investor screening processes that can help to competitively secure and/or increase the amount of capital investment into their company.

The Training Method is built on the study entitled ‘We Ask Men to Win and Women not to Lose: closing the gender gap in start-up funding by Dana Kanze, Laura Huang, Mark A. Conley and E. Tory Higgins, published in Academy of Management Journal Vol. 61, No. 2.

female entrepreneur

About the assessment and the survey

The online tools are provided free of charge and take 10 min each to fill out.

They are distributed in different settings such as:

  • Training providers: accelerators, incubators, educational institutions and technological parks
  • Funding setting: pitching competitions, vetting rounds and board rooms
  • Conferences and events

As a partner you can distribute the online tools through a QR code in social media, flyers, newsletters, websites, magazines or other platforms.


Please let us know if we could support you by sharing your email here and we will inform you when we’re ready.

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