Social entrepreneurs in Spain have more difficulties to obtain financing than men, according to a study

Social entrepreneurs in Spain have more difficulties to obtain financing than men, according to a study

Social entrepreneurs in Spain have more difficulties in obtaining financing than their male counterparts, according to the report ‘Investment with a gender focus: an opportunity for the ecosystem of the European social enterprise’, which the Institute of Social Innovation of ESADE, in collaboration with the EY ‘Foundation.

The study, for which it has been consulted, among others, a hundred Spanish social entrepreneurs, highlights that 26 percent of social entrepreneurs get to gather all the external financing they seek, compared to 46 percent of entrepreneurs Yes, he does it.

In this regard, he points out that this circumstance occurs because the investor’s support is similar in both profiles during the early stages of the company, but only 20-30 percent of female entrepreneurs reach the acceleration and financing phases, a proportion that increases to 70-80 percent in the case of male entrepreneurs.

However, in the international area of ​​the report, it is highlighted that the Spanish social investment ecosystem is more gender aware than that of other European countries.

In relation to the causes of these differences in social investment, the researcher of the Institute of Social Innovation of ESADE and co-author of the report, Mar Cordobés, explained that the reasons range from the sectors in which social entrepreneurs usually undertake, that, In his opinion, “they are less valued by investors”, even differences in the attitude of men and women to finance.

Specifically, it has affirmed that the investors “feel less comfortable” than the men at the time of speaking with external investors or of using the financial terminology.

“Social enterprise has the potential to be a very important tool for empowering women and promoting gender equality, but its enormous potential is not being fully utilized, as the ecosystem seems to lack awareness and urgency about problem, and social finance run the risk of reproducing the same gender deficit as traditional finance, “stressed the also researcher of the Institute of Social Innovation of ESADE and co-author of the report, Leonora Buckland.


The average profile of the social entrepreneur in Spain, according to the study of the Institute of Social Innovation of ESADE, is between 40 and 50 years old (42%), is married or lives as a couple (65%), has children or people his position (60%) and has post-university studies (61%).

In addition, their companies are young (less than five years old) and, although the average number of members per company is 3.2 (1.4 are women and 1.8 are men), 22 percent of companies have a single partner and, of these, three out of four have been founded by women.

Regarding gender, entrepreneurs dedicate more hours than entrepreneurs to their companies, but they recognize in a smaller proportion that the social impact is the main objective of their company (51% of men compared to 83% of women) . The professional career and training also varies, since they have more experience in entrepreneurship, although they have more training (32% of women versus 20% of men).

With regard to equality policies within the social enterprise, the report reflects that women entrepreneurs demonstrate a greater degree of commitment to gender equity, an objective to which they give a 4.07 out of 5 in relevance, while men only give it 3.85. The importance that both groups give to the issue is high (62%, women, 52% men), but this circumstance is hardly reflected in concrete measures within the company.

On the other hand, the ESADE report also studies the financing of social entrepreneurship in Europe and if it has an adequate gender equality perspective. For this, it has analyzed the responses of more than forty experts and social investors.

In this sense, it concludes that, at this time, and except in the case of the United Kingdom, financing “is not particularly aware of this issue”. On the one hand, the report indicates that “there is no” a critical mass of social initiatives that have policies of gender equality in their business plan and, on the other, “no investor” conceives them as an important requirement when financing a project.

Precisely, the study reflects that, although this circumstance is key in this sector in particular, most European social investors do not see an urgent need to work in this direction.

Finally, the report points out that investment in a gender approach is a “dynamic form of impact investment” that is growing “rapidly” in the United States, although it has yet to “take root in Europe”.