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Lack of Funding from Nordic Governments and NGOs to Female Founders

77% of Government and NGO funding went to all-male founding teams while 19% went to mixed-gender teams.

Overall, Governmental agencies and NGOs are only marginally more likely to invest in entrepreneurial teams with only women or mixed genders. That is the facts in the newest report by Unconventional Ventures. 

It is the third year that Nordic Innovation supports Unconventional Ventures with their yearly Startup Funding Report. The report looks into the current state on startup funding in the Nordics with comparisons to the UK, Germany, France and Europe.

Read the report

Diversity is crucial in creating impact companies

Through the Nordic Task Force For Diversity initiative, Nordic Innovation seeks to contribute to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on Gender Equality, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure as well as Partnerships For the Goals. Impact companies are seen as important drivers in reaching these goals.

What is an Impact Company?

A company that generates positive social or environmental impact that can be linked to one of UN's Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the report, companies with at least one woman in the founding team are more than twice as likely to run an impact company compared to companies with only male founders. Supporting gender diversity in impact companies is therefore an important aspect in reaching UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“This report documents how far we are from equality when it comes to financing female entrepreneurs. The numbers indicate that the work on diversity, inclusion and equality must continue and be strengthened”.

Svein Berg, Managing Director at Nordic Innovation.

1% of all capital goes to female founders

While there is a significant difference in Governmental and NGO funding towards female, male and mixed gender startup teams, the picture is even worse if we look at the total capital invested. According to the report, in the Nordics, all male-founding teams were allocated 88,2% of all capital deployed in 2021 while mixed-teams were allocated 10,7% and all-female teams secured just 1% of the total capital invested in startups.

“Since impact investments concern both social and environmental sustainability, ensuring enough funding for these two dimensions in combination is essential if we are to achieve a just transition. We need solutions that take the needs of the whole population into account, and to do that we need to invest in the innovation potential of the whole population”.

Svein Berg, Managing Director at Nordic Innovation

A record year in impact investment

On the positive note, 2021 was a record year for capital deployed into impact startups globally. Gender balance at Nordic impact startup funding teams is marginally better than non-impact startups and almost a third of the funding in 2021 was allocated to impact companies.

Read more in the report

Supporting Diversity in Entrepreneurship

Nordic Innovation supports the Startup Funding Report through the Nordic Task Force For Diversity initiative. The initiative seeks to foster a diverse and gender equal entrepreneurship landscape in the Nordic countries, including identification of obstacles, learnings from best practices, identifying measures that can be implemented at a Nordic level, as well as initiating discussions and raising awareness of both barriers and opportunities in creating gender equal entrepreneurship.   

Read more about the Nordic Task Force For Diversity


Marthe Haugland - Senior Innovation Adviser

Marthe Haugland

Senior Innovation Adviser
Marthe combines her international experience with her knowledge of business development and innovation to promote Nordic cooperation within the circular economy. She belives Nordic cooperation can drive the systemic change and give Nordic companies a competitive edge going forward.

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Hege Louise Guttormsen - Higher Executive Officer

Hege Louise Guttormsen

Higher Executive Officer
Hege began working at Nordic Innovation in January 2022 after finishing her internship there. Her focus areas include circular business models; mobility and connectivity; as well as Nordic Innovation’s Nordic Task Force for Diversity. She holds a master’s degree in international relations and has previously interned at the Norwegian Consulate General in Mumbai and Lightup Norway.


Portriat of Trine Moa

Trine Moa

Senior Adviser Strategy and Governance
Trine has more than 14 years of experience working with strategic planning, developing and implementing methodology and tools for results management, evaluation and learning, with an innovative and solutions-oriented approach to her work.

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