Young, Female, and Fighting for Funding: The Untold Story of Entrepreneurship 

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Female entrepreneurs continue to encounter significant challenges because of their age and gender, especially those who are in their 20s. Only 5% of venture capital-funded companies, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, are run by women. Additionally, only 2% of all venture capital funding goes to women-owned enterprises. 

There are numerous factors contributing to this difference. Investors frequently hold unconscious prejudices that cause them to perceive women as less competent or talented than males. Women may also be less likely to obtain mentoring and assistance from networks that are predominately male, which can make it challenging for them to acquire funding and resources. 

Breaking barriers and overcoming challenges is a constant battle, especially for female entrepreneurs. No exemption applies to Valentina Milanova, the 28-year-old founder of the women’s health start-up Daye. Despite the success of her company, Valentina has had a difficult time getting finance for it, partly because of her age and gender. 

Milanova has grown her company from an idea to a profitable and expanding organization, already employing 45 staff and has been preparing to open a new US arm since she launched the business. Daye was established in 2018 by Valentina Milanova with the goal of revolutionizing the women’s health sector. Her business provides a selection of sustainable, eco-friendly items aimed at giving ladies a better, more comfortable experience during their periods. The business has grown rapidly, bringing in investors and making a sizable amount of money. 

Despite her achievements, Valentina has had a difficult time getting finance for her company. In her first year, she raised more than £4m in seed funding but now she is having trouble securing new funding, to help with the next stage of her company plan, mainly because most venture capitalists are middle-aged men who are reluctant to bring up women’s health issues. She has acknowledged that it has frequently been challenging for her to be taken seriously in the business world as a young female founder. 

Furthermore, few women Milanova encountered were concerned about supporting Milanova only to be marginalized. Meeting rooms were also predominately male. Since there are so few women working in venture capital, they worry about being labeled as the woman who invests in female founders which makes it more difficult to seek money from them. The nature of the business makes it impossible for them to risk coming out as overly feminine or preoccupied with women’s issues. 

The Daye founder believes that her youth is “a really serious detriment” because of the attitude of suppliers and investors towards her. She said she is waiting to hit 30 because then she will be treated differently and looked at differently. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are; what should matter are your business-related beliefs and work ethic.”