Since launching the company in 2017 I have been fortunate to meet some amazing investors (both male and female) who have offered their time and guidance as well as financial support for the business. But there have been far more times when I have felt like the token ‘young woman’ in a pitching competition and have left feeling deflated. During these experiences I would ask myself if I am just being paranoid and then feel even more guilty if I ‘give in’ and bring my male co-founder the next time round. But according to the Harvard Business Review*** an identical pitch, for an identical business, has four times more likelihood of being funded with an all-male team. Moreover, investors ask different questions to male vs female founders, leading to very different funding outcomes.
Tate is credited with reinventing the museum and changing British culture. It is fantastic then to see the organisation instituting real change at the top. We’re now edging towards the next decade and as a national museum, with influence, Tate has a responsibility to shape the future of what a gallery is and does. My hope is that it will also have an impact beyond the arts sector and we will see more charities and corporate companies include the voice of young people, women, BAME and people of all backgrounds at the highest level of governance.
The willingness to open up is always risky. It requires a readiness to accept that your assertions and conclusions can be shredded and to look at your organisation with dispassionate and rigorous pragmatism. However, the result is a more resilient, future-facing organisation that can access new markets, new opportunities and new types of leaders.
By Anna Lowe - Founder, Smartify | Trustee, Tate | Forbes 30 Under 30 2019
www.smartify.org | www.tate.org.uk/about-us
*Charity Commission https://charitycommission.blog.gov.uk/2018/12/12/can-you-help-increase-the-number-of-young-trustees/
**British Business Bank https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/UK_VC_and_Female_Founders_Report_British_Business_Bank.pdf