With Australia’s gross domestic product projected to jump by 11.3% if the gender gap was to be closed, a new startup is taking charge to make this happen.
Femeconomy founders Jade Collins and Alanna Bastin-Byrne quit their corporate careers to launch a startup for gender equality after hearing a statistic that sparked an a-ha moment.
“When I read the statistic that women make 85% of purchase decisions, I thought that is a huge unexploited economic lever,” Collins tells StartupSmart.
She says women are driving the consumer market, from buying cars and houses to everyday goods, groceries and clothing for multiple households at a time.
In addition to this, the number of women starting or building businesses around the world has a hit an all time high.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of women operating businesses in Australia has increased by 46% over the past two decades and as of 2014, there were more than 650,000 women operating businesses around the country.
In a survey of 59 economies, Investopedia found women are now creating businesses at a faster rate than men in Ghana, Nigeria and Thailand.
“We can solve the problem for ourselves,” Collins says.
This knowledge led the two founders to create Femeconomy, an Ebay-like platform with a twist.
“We have researched 2000 consumer brands across a range of categories to identify which of those meet our criteria of either 30% women on the board of directors or 50% female ownership,” Collins says.
“We go in and actually do our research to verify they meet our criteria [by looking at] multiple sources and company records.”
The platform currently links consumers to the websites and online stores of a wide range of businesses selling everything from cars, electronics and insurance products, through to homewears and clothing.
Shoppers can use the platform for free and represented brands are charged for affiliate marketing.
“The change that we’re trying to make is we think if there were more female leaders in companies, that’s actually what changes culture,” Collins says.
“If you help women, that will change the community.”
Since launching the minimum viable product in September this year, Femeconomy has grown from 80 brands to more than 700.
Over the next decade, Collins and Bastin-Bryne plan to change the world by making the startup a pinnacle for shopping, starting in the US, UK and Australia.
“I’d hope that our mission has been achieved to accelerate access to board roles and leadership,” she says.
“A lot’s possible in ten years.”
The founders’ mission rings close to a beacon for change made in Women in Enterprise: a different perspective, a report released back in 2012.
“Eventually, we should aim to stop referring to ‘women’ entrepreneurs but simply note there are segments of people within the population who are entrepreneurial but whose gender is no longer of interest or note,” it states.