This article originally appeared on Austin Community Foundation 

Women make 85% of consumer decisions, so it would make sense that women lead many of the companies selling those products, right? Hardly. In fact, when it comes to entrepreneurship, women are largely absent from the C-suite. The Women’s Fund of Central Texas, a program of the Foundation, invests in local women and children through research, leadership and grantmaking. At their recent Investing in Women: Grant Award Breakfast, guests learned some powerful facts about how investing in women delivers a strong return. In short, gender matters.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sara Brand, founding general partner of True Wealth Ventures, a venture capital fund designed to invest in women-led companies, shared her research about the untapped opportunity to invest in women entrepreneurs. Brand is trained in green design and manufacturing, public health and energy and mechanical engineering, and acts as Senior Advisor for Health to UT’s new Dell Medical School where she fosters health technology innovations. She asserts that women-led businesses can make a positive impact through greener and healthier technologies and her research shows women-led businesses deliver a higher return for investors.

Yet, just 3% of venture capital dollars invested in burgeoning companies goes to businesses with a female CEO. That shouldn’t be surprising since the gender gap is reflected in VC firms themselves—just 4% of partners in VC firms are women. Even so, women entrepreneurs are finding ways to gain capital. The total funding raised on Kickstarter for ventures led by women is a whopping 35%!

Women’s limited access to capital has not dissuaded them from hatching great business ideas. In fact, Austin’s climate of creativity and collaboration means our city ranks 6th in the country for women-led businesses seeking equity funding. In short, Brand knows that Austin is uniquely positioned as a place where women entrepreneurs can flourish—lifting themselves, their families and our whole community.

The same is true for the Women’s Fund which has invested more than $1.3 million in women and children and created an endowment for future needs. Learn more.

Women Leaders Speak Up

The Women’s Fund offers informative programs, tours and talks by leaders affecting change in our community to benefit women and children. Austin women leaders recently shared their insights, experiences and concerns about the biggest challenges women in our community face today. The discussion explored how women are challenged by pay inequity, the perception of being too ambitious and by company policies and culture that leave many women who are mothers averse to taking risks. Learn more about challenges facing women