On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021, we talked to Angela Restrepo Holter, an angel investor and an advisor to several women-led companies. Angela Restrepo Holter helps SMEs define and implement strategies for growth and expansion. She serves as the Managing Director at Astia Angels, a global network of investors in female owned and led ICT companies. As Entrepreneur in Residence at the Founder Institute, she advises early stage companies on business and revenue strategies. She also serves as a Board Member and Vice President of Mentoring for Norway’s Professional Women Network.
Gender inclusive investments are not only the right thing to do because it’s fair to give everyone the same opportunities, but it makes business sense. It is proven time and time again that companies and entrepreneurial teams with women leaders perform better. They drive more revenue they do better business-wise. if you are thinking about investments from a capitalistic point of view, if your only metric is a return on investment, gender inclusive investments make all the sense.
I believe the world will be a better place if we achieve gender equality in investment because it will be a world with more opportunities for everyone independent of their gender, gender definition and how they look. The world faces very complex problems, and we need all hands on deck to solve these problems. Brilliant brains, intelligent people who can step in and make solutions work and push them to market, looking at it differently are man and female, and everything in between. They come from very many different places. When we remove the biases from the investment worlds and give capital to various ideas and opportunities, those ideas will fly, and our world will benefit greatly.
The biggest challenge to gender inclusive investment today is the biases we all carry. The investment world is male dominated. It has been created by men, run by men, white man, and that represents a problem. We tend to believe in those that look like us, that talk like us, that behave like us, that went to the same university, that have the same degrees. We relate to those people better, and that is problematic. Those coming up with great solutions to world problems don’t look only one way. There are two sides to this challenge. One is those giving out the investments, and the other is those receiving the investments. Those giving out investments are exceptionally homogeneous and carry biases, which is human, but they do that. Therefore, we need diversity in the investments world to see diversity in those receiving investments.
In my opinion, the most significant opportunity for improvements in gender inclusive investment is diversity. The investment world is white male dominated. It has been created by men and run by men historically. That needs to change. If we want to see more diversity in the innovation space, we need to see some diversity in the investment landscape. We all tend to have biases. That is only is human. We tend to believe that those who talk like us and speak like us are the smartest, more capable, and can bring the change we want to see in the world, which is wrong. If those evaluating the investment deals bring in different perspectives, are diverse, ethnicity wise, education-wise, with different backgrounds all together, I do believe we will see more diversity in innovation that is popping up all across the world and is meant to solve problems not only of one single population but of many.