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Research Focus Female Entrepreneurship

17.7% - this is how low the proportion of startups in Germany founded by women was in 2021. Although this figure increased slightly compared to previous years (in 2020 it was still 15.9%)[1], there are still particular challenges for women in the startup sector. This becomes visible, among other things, in the sources of funding for startups, as the differences are enormous, especially in the venture capital sector. A study by the Female Founder Monitor 2020 found that only 8% of invested VC capital was awarded to female teams.

A wide range of development and growth opportunities can be derived from this current state. In addition to economic growth, greater participation of women in the startup scene holds advantages in terms of product diversification and competitiveness of the startup ecosystem. Moreover, in addition to economic goals, female founders are primarily socially and ecologically committed, and thus contribute to shaping a livable future for all in their startup ventures.

But how can the above figures be changed in a sustainable way? Entrepreneurship research primarily points to potential in the areas of financing, networks and the strengthening and visibility of role models.

[1]German Startup Monitor 2021:

Role models

"Entrepreneurs are the world's problem-solvers. If you see opportunities and find creative ways to solve problems, you're an entrepreneur, regardless of how old you are or what your background may be. Women, immigrants, and people of all ages and races are making outsized contributions as entrepreneurs and rewriting outdated stereotypes. The need for diversity demands that we expand our ideas about who is an entrepreneur. The sooner our perceptions catch up to that reality, the better off our collective future will be" (Finkelstein, 2018)[1].

Entrepreneurship research shows positive effects regarding the creation and involvement of role models, for example in teaching, case studies and events. Through the respective start-up story, thoughts such as "I think that's great / exciting / interesting" or also "If that person can do it, I can do it too" can arise. This phenomenon is understood as social cognitive learning theory[2], learning by observing and imitating the behavior of human role models, whereby their personal presence is of secondary importance.

Accordingly,podcasts as a digital format are particularly suitable for making female founders visible as role models. That's why, in the first podcast from HM and SCE, we interview inspiring female founders who have dared to take the step into self-employment. The monthly episodes are about the ups and downs of starting a business, the individual experiences of the founders and valuable tips for students with start-up plans. Our interviewees come from a wide range of industries and backgrounds. Carolin Kunert, founder of Knister and former HM student, Anastasia Barner from Fementor, one of Germany's youngest founders, Molly Johnson-Jones from Flexa Careers and many more have already taken part. Listen in - wherever there are podcasts - and discover the founder in you!



[2] Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 1-26.

to the fIVE Podcast on Female Entrepreneurship.

Networks & Mentoring

The Female Founders Monitor 2020[1] identified networking as an important measure to strengthen female entrepreneurship. Here you'll find a number of women's networks and mentoring programs that can help you on the path to starting a business.




There's also a lot happening in the accelerator space. F-Lane and Grace are a couple of examples that specialize in supporting female founders:

  • F:Lane is a five-week virtual accelerator program for early-stage women entrepreneurs with ambitious goals to drive change through women's empowerment, which was, among others, co-founded by our Social Entrepreneurship Akamie co-founded:
  • Grace supports women with startup ambitions through formats such as its Summer Accelerator, Grace Scale - a program for growth-stage female founders - and through many other digital and analog offerings and events:


In research, the topic of female entrepreneurship is a "hot topic". The following journals publish and discuss the latest research results - and can be a helpful source for seminar, bachelor or master theses.

Franziska Mattner M:UniverCity
Female Entrepreneurship & Diversity

T: 089 1265 3223


Since 2016, Franziska Mattner has been working as a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich. Her lectures focus on topics such as Business Model Design, Innovation, and Design Thinking. Franziska joined the SCE in January 2018 as part of the “Deep Dive” Project, a joint-program between the University & SCE to develop a MOOC and an international master program on “Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation”. In her current PhD work she will combine her expertise and passion for innovative, digital learning formats with the research focus on ‘Female Entrepreneurship & Diversity’. Her research area centers on educational design, digital learning, entrepreneurial personality and female empowerment.

Franziska holds a Diploma in Business Administration (MUAS) and a joint M.Sc. degree (Erasmus Mundus Master – Master of Excellence). She studied at 6 universities in 5 different countries. Despite her work at the university, Franziska built up a successful international start-up in the outdoor and leisure industry and aided several other start-ups to grow their business.