On the 17th of June for the first time Estonian Founders Society together with sTARTUp Day and CIVITTA organised a Female Founders Meetup. An event that celebrated women in startups and inspired others with successful founder stories. The first Female Founders Meetup took place online and brought together over 90 participants.

Three women shared their stories of how they became founders – Kaidi Ruusalepp from Funderbeam, Evgenia Trofimova from Introwise and Ann Runnel from Reverse Resources. They shared their founder journeys and advised on how to build a successful company.

According to Triin Kask, the Founders Society board member representing female founders, the event series was introduced in order to increase the awareness of women to see startups as the opportunity to realise their potential. “Despite there being a number of powerful women in the startup community, the ratio of men to women founders in the Founders Society is about 9:1. This circle needs to be bigger and more diverse. We can achieve this by empowering both current and future female founders to fulfill their potential,” said Triin.

Ann Runnel, founder and visionary at Reverse Resources, said that she never wanted or planned to become an entrepreneur herself. “I always thought I would work for one. At some point, I was so frustrated with the knowledge gathering that I knew exactly what needed to be done but nobody would listen. So I felt this to be the mission I have to start myself to prove the point and make an example of how circular economy can be put to work. To this day I don’t enjoy being a founder that much, as I’ve always seen myself more of a team player than a leader,” she said.

Female founders face many challenges when starting their business and throughout their careers. The obstacles may be access to funding, lack of network, courage and coaching. This is illustrated by the fact that only 15% of startups in the world are created by women. As Kaidi Ruusalepp, the founder and CEO of Funderbeam put it: “It’s easy to manage a company on an MD or COO level, but to be a CEO, Head of Strategy or a Board Member requires a lot of strategic decisions, understanding of the industry while learning how to be an entrepreneur, a founder and setting up a new business is pretty tough. Then we can’t forget that we have this invisible layer of being a female founder that adds a challenge to our journey.”

As the saying goes, experience is the best teacher. The best way to change and understand these problems is through learning from one another. The Female Founders Meetup is the place to do that – to gain knowledge, share inspirational stories, network and connect. The next event will take place on August 26 as a pre-event to Latitude59 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Female Founders Meetup is a part of sTARTUp Talks – an official side-event series of sTARTUp Day 2021. Follow sTARTUp Talks to get timely information about the next event.