Few startups are founded by women

Few startups are founded by women

A state-of-the-art office isn’t always necessary to run a startup: Three women, Dennis Tuder, Barbara Blitzer and Kirsten Tuder of Frankenfels (St. Polten County), run their startup together from home. The trio founded a sustainable fashion label called “Ecolodge Fashion” in 2016, to realize a long-awaited dream.

Kerstin Tuder is responsible for purchasing and management, Denise Tuder for sales and Barbara Pletzer for apparel design and marketing. The special thing about the fashion line: “Our clothes are only made under fair conditions and using exclusively biological and environmental materials. The designs are hand-drawn and we have three seamstresses in the area making the clothes,” says Kirsten Toder.


Barbara Blitzer (left), Denise Toder (center) and Kirsten Toder (right) send clothes from “warehouse” – a room in Dennis Toder’s home

The set includes jackets, hats, T-shirts and headbands. A total of 80 different items of clothing can be purchased. According to the three founders, it is especially important that their clothes are not too expensive. “Our prices range from 30 to 80 euros per piece,” explains Sales Director Dennis Toder.

However, entrepreneurs cannot live off their fashion line alone. In addition to starting work, the three women rely on other jobs: “In the meantime, one of us can make a living from our fashion line, but all three can’t make ends meet. Although our start-up produces something regularly, it doesn’t. Enough difference for us to be able to make a living from,” says Kirsten Toder. In addition to start-ups and additional jobs, the three founders also have children – a double or triple burden on mothers and managing directors.

Four percent of startups are founded only by women

Based on surveys by the Austrian Startup Monitor – a scientific study by the Austrian Startups research center, the Austrian Institute of Technology research institution and the business incubator of the Vienna University of Economics and Business – only four percent of startups in Lower Austria are run by women. Exclusive. On the other hand, 56% of startups are founded by men and 40% are founded by mixed teams. Across Austria, nine percent of start-ups founded exclusively by women.

Combining family and work remains the biggest challenge for women today. This is also one of the reasons why so few women start startups on their own, says Lisa Fasel, herself an entrepreneur and startup officer at the Federal Ministry for Digitalization. “Regulated framework terms are needed so that women find startups more attractive, particularly with regard to the issue of ‘reconciling family and work.’ Incentives are also needed to encourage and motivate women in startups to create a startup themselves. Specifically with public funding or bonuses for startups linked to the fact that women are represented on teams,” says Fassel.

Women often pursue “green and social” goals.

According to the Austrian Startup Monitor, mixed teams and women-led teams have often found startups in the education, apparel, FMCG and food sectors. The male-dominated sectors are industrial technology, production, finance, information technology or software development. According to the study, an important and indispensable aspect today is that female teams or startups run by women disproportionately often pursue social and environmental goals.

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