Though men led women in seed crowdfunding in the Middle East, but women outperformed their male counterparts in achieving the financial goals, says a newly-released study.
A total of 97 campaigns were successfully funded in the region in 2015 and 2016, 24 of which were female-led and 73 male-led. And while the number of campaigns funded in the region is still relatively low vis-a-vis more established territories, however, seed crowdfunding is still relatively new to the region. Average pledge amounts to female-led campaigns are 29 per cent higher than male-led campaigns, compared with a difference of only 5 per cent globally, said PwC and The Crowdfunding Centre report - Women Unbound: Unleashing female entrepreneurial potential.
Seed crowdfunding generated a total financing of $ 3.25 million (with $527,300 going to female led campaigns) in the Middle East for 2015 and 2016, with female-led campaigns in the Middle East generating an estimated 5,320 backers, compared with 4,240 for those that were male-led, it added.
Meanwhile globally, 72 per cent of crowdfunders are male to 28 per cent female, while in the Middle East 83 per cent of crowdfunders are male to 17 per cent female. It was also revealed that women in the Middle East do better than their male counterparts in achieving their finance goals through seed crowdfunding (10 per cent vs 6 per cent respectively).
Stuart Scoular, PwC Middle East Financial Services Partner, said: "The findings of pose a strong challenge to existing entrepreneurial and business norms by seriously questioning whether there are deep-rooted biases that are preventing greater access to funding by female entrepreneurs. This is concerning."
He added: "The fact that the numbers also ring true for the Middle East is evidence that the region's start-up ecosystem is one to keep a close eye on. Even though crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending is still a relative novelty in the region, we expect to see an increase in their adoption as alternative sources of financing as the entrepreneurship landscape of the region matures with much of that growth being led by women." Emma Campbell, PwC Middle East People, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, said: "The numbers for the Middle East paint a really encouraging picture: although still in its infancy, seed crowdfunding is proving to be a powerful tool for budding female entrepreneurs to get financing, with average pledge amounts to female-led campaigns 29 per cent higher than male-led campaigns; globally, that difference is 5 per cent: this stark contrast mirrors the realities of a thriving female-led leadership in the region."