Female founders still face challenges in getting equal access to opportunities and funding for their businesses; but successful entrepreneur and Clearco co-founder and CEO, Michele Romanow, says the battle is worth it.

Clearco is the world’s largest e-commerce investor, having invested $3.2 billion in over 7,000 ecommerce and SaaS companies. It launched in Australia in October 2021 where it has already invested in over 350 e-commerce companies. Clearco uses AI to inform investment decisions which removes the inherent bias many female founders face.

“I am very proud of the impact Clearco has had on the e-commerce community and our support of women leaders – we have literally changed the face of investment. Today we fund 25 times more female-owned businesses than traditional VCs do, and a staggering 50% of our current global portfolio is made up of businesses led by women,” Romanow said.

To encourage other women to #BreakTheBias on International Women’s Day 2022, Romanow has three tips based on her own experience as a leader.

1. Start now and take action

Don’t get trapped in a cycle of waiting for the perfect time to start a business – that time doesn’t exist. You need to jump in and get the ball rolling. Worrying doesn’t solve a problem – the only thing that solves a problem is an action. Being a woman in business means you’ll have to face rejection and all you can do is get back on the horse.

2. Be genuine and responsible

Great leaders are genuine, authentic and deeply responsible. That sounds very easy when you say it out loud. But it’s so hard in reality. Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face. It’s pretty easy to see blame get spread and not take responsibility, but you need to sit back and ask yourself: “What was the role that I played in this disaster? How do we all collectively own this so it becomes an organisational learning and not something we continuously repeat?”

3. Find a strong mentor

A single mentor relationship can change your whole life. One of my great mentors and a woman who has inspired me is Clearco chief growth officer, Ruma Bose. When you think about building a great mentor relationship, also think about the things that you can do that add to their life. All great relationships are based on mutual benefit.