She leads Microwd, a part of the Brisbane-based Finley Capital and aimed at raising capital through crowd funding, but specifically for companies led by women.
Normally, cutting out a large section of the market, ie males, wouldn’t be the basis for a good business model but a PwC report that Owen distributed found that there was an “endemic bias” against women who were seeking to raise capital. It’s also an issue many women in business raise.
However, crowd funding is also very new and its governing legislation was only introduced in 2017, but the PwC report claimed that women were more successful at it then men.
“Overall campaigns led by women were 32 per cent more successful at reaching their funding target than those led by men across a wide range of sectors, geography and cultures,” the report said.
Owen said there are other issues apart from gender bias and she said she had “sat on both sides, as a co-founder raising capital and on the capital raising side”.
“I think that the greatest observation, and perhaps why women-led businesses do well in equity crowdfunding, is that in addition to growth and return, they focus on other aspects of a business – efficiency, culture – as well as having an inherent drive to improve their community, the environment and society at large,” she said.
“In raising funds, this is an important aspect to a women-led company, as well as growth – and appeals to many retail investors as well.
“Traditionally, raising capital has been focused on return, particularly with wholesale investors, but as we see globally, there are many investors, in particular, millennials, who are wanting to invest in companies which want to have a greater impact and displace existing non-environmental practices, or do things better for community, alongside return.
“Many women-led companies appeal for this reason.”
Amendments to federal legislation allow for a crowdfunding regime with reduced regulatory requirements for public fundraising while maintaining investor protections. A provider of CSF services must hold an Australian financial services licence (ASIC has an information page on the topic).
A company can raise up to $5 million in a 12-month period through the crowdfunding regime and an investor has a limit of $10,000 for each company in a year.