#CulturePH - Angel Investors Network Pushes for Advocacy and Intentionality in Empowering Filipina Entrepreneurs

It can be particularly difficult for women to navigate the capital-raising market. Advocacy and intentionality, however, are two strategies that the startup ecosystem and the investing community may use to their advantage.

Tina Di Cicco, Chairperson of MAIN’s Gender Lens Investing Committee, discussing MAIN's Gender Lens Investing strategy.

At the recently concluded FoundHer Forum, which was hosted by the women-led inclusion studio Imaginable Impact at KMC One Ayala, based in the Philippines in honor of Women's Month, Tina Nepomuceno-Di Cicco, the chairperson of the Gender Lens Investing Committee of Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN), the largest angel investor network in the Philippines, made this statement.

During her keynote address, Di Cicco emphasized that promoting and consciously aiding women-owned enterprises will inspire more women to thrive and draw in and expand capital.

“Through advocacy, we communicate our vision and goals, as well as promote and support each other’s businesses. Intentionality, on the other hand, is when we turn our advocacy into action–it's when we put our resources into investing in women and helping make women-led businesses succeed,” Di Cicco said, sharing tips on how women can appear more investible. 

In addition, she noted that while the gender gap remains a pressing issue with only 2% of global venture capital funds going to women-led businesses, investments on women entrepreneurs are in fact growing in Southeast Asia with data indicating that female-led startups raised $1.41 billion in equity funding in 2023, which accounts for 18 percent of capital raised in the region. This is a 12.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Di Cicco also pointed out that the current trend indicates that more investors and networks are using Gender Lens Investing when considering startups to invest in and support. Gender Lens Investing (GLI) is a strategy that MAIN employs, through the support of the Australian Aid’s Investing in Women program, to maximize investment potential in women-led businesses. Through the GLI, MAIN provides extensive support to women-led startups, especially those at the early stage, in terms of capital allocation, training, and mentorship. To date, more than 40% of the startups that MAIN members have invested in are female-led.

“We are hearing investors prioritizing portfolio diversity, with many incorporating gender lens investing strategies. What we see across the board is a slow but steady increase in gender lens investing,” Di Cicco said, underscoring investors’ intent to address gender disparity through their investment choices.

“This is the time for women founders. We are being sought. We are more visible. There is no better time to be a woman than now,” Di Cicco added. 

The FoundHer Forum is a signature event series elevating the conversation on investing in female founders, to bridge the capital gap for women in the startup ecosystem. Aside from MAIN, FoundHer Forum was made possible in partnership with KMC Solutions, a leading provider of flexible office space requirements and co-working space for emerging businesses in the Philippines. 

Aside from supporting women-led businesses, MAIN, composed of more than 120 angel investors, aims to increase the number of female investors in the Philippines by diversifying their own membership. MAIN is also a member of the Gender Lens & Impact Investment Council (GIIC), a member-based industry body that seeks to build the gender lens and impact investment ecosystem in the Philippines.


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