“It’s an amazing time to raise funding as a female founder,” said Victoria Zorin, founder of Australian crowd analytics software company Nola Technologies, at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit Asia in Singapore. Women now account for nearly half of new entrepreneurs, with 47% of new business owners being women in 2020, up from 29% in 2019.

Despite the progress, a funding gap persists. In 2022, only 2.1% of U.S. venture capital investments went to businesses founded solely by women, according to a Pitchbook report. Olivia Cotes-James, founder of menstrual health startup Luüna, noted that female founders still face discrimination in fundraising. However, as her company demonstrated growth and vision, raising funds became easier.

The entrepreneurial landscape has shifted, with programs and awareness pushing investors to support female-led startups. In 2022, the funding rate for women-owned businesses rose to 41%, slightly higher than the 37% for businesses owned by men, according to a Biz2Credit report.

However, the average funding size for women-owned companies was $55,898, compared to $93,976 for businesses owned by men. Cotes-James pointed out that supporting female founders should address deeper issues beyond surface-level trends.

Cotes-James also highlighted misconceptions about women’s ability to build companies, noting that investors often favor male-led startups even when pitches are similar. Despite challenges, Luüna raised over $1.5 million in two seed funding rounds and partnered with companies like UBS and Goldman Sachs to provide free menstrual products.

Zorin added that age and lack of experience can be hurdles, especially with enterprise customers. Nola Technologies raised 200,000 Australian dollars in pre-seed investments and is projected to be cashflow positive by March 2024.

Both founders advised young entrepreneurs to stand firm in their beliefs, focus on their passions, and understand their customers. Confidence and the ability to say no to unfavorable opportunities are crucial for success.