60% of women founders in plant-based, alternative protein and foodtech sector experience bias, says Vegan Women Summit Report

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AUTHOR: Fiona Holland

Four in five women founders from the alternative proteins, plant-based, and foodtech sector have said they have experienced gender bias in fundraising over the past year, which has impeded their access to investor funding, according to the 2021 edition of the industry report published by the Vegan Women Summit (VWS).

The report found that 60% of respondents reported an experience of bias during fundraising, while 50% reported they had ended a business relationship as a result of experiencing gender discrimination or harassment.

When it comes to women of colour founders, it was discovered that they would be 1.5 times more likely to witness discrimination or harassment than white founders.

One in three of the women founders taking part in this report were women of colour.

Two in five women of colour founders said they had experienced racial bias in their fundraising, with three in five feeling more confident in an investment fund which prioritised founders of colour.

While the VWS’s report does recognise an increase in discriminatory bias and harassment, this is noted to be due to a general rise in reporting it.

More positive findings from the survey include the fact that 97% of women founders have said they are working to achieve at least one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, while 55% said their companies are working towards tackling climate issues.

According to 48% of respondents, the pandemic had little negative impact on their companies, with an increase in investor interest being experienced by 32%.

When speaking about the reasons behind the founding of their company, 26% said it was due to ethical issues related to the use of animals in food production, 26% said is was for environmental reasons related to the health of the planet, while 18% claimed it was due to personal health issues linked to eating animal-based goods.

After setting up their business, two out of five founders said they had given up or lowered the amount of animal consumption in their diets.

The published report was supported by Veg Capital and other VWS partners, The Good Food Institute, Plant Based Foods Association, Material Innovation Initiative, ProVeg International and Vevolution.

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