More women, more impact in Giant Leap's data

Small Steps Vol. 50: The march to gender equity in 2022 🤸‍♀️; women leading the regenerative movement 🌿; and how women make headlines 🗞️
March 10, 2022
Giant Leap

“We need a new narrative on what it means to be human, what it is we want and why we’re entrepreneurs. We need to build an economy in service to life.” - Hunter Lovin, entrepreneur and “TIME Magazine Hero of the Planet”.

Our hearts go out to those impacted by the Ukraine war, Australian flooding, and other unexpected tragedies in this tumultuous world of ours. These upturnings of family, friend, and peer livelihoods underlines the importance of building an economy in service to life.


“Systemic change is overwhelming but crucial. Individual change is possible but seems insignificant. Collective, individual change – this is where the magic happens.” - Jeanette Cheah, Founder of HEX

🤔 With International Women’s Day just passed, the number on our minds is 19%: the proportion of founding teams with a least one woman founder that received funding in 2021 (State of Australian Startup Funding). That figure has barely moved since 2018, a plateau mirrored globally due in some part to the well-documented impacts of COVID-19 on women entrepreneurs.

📣 It’s a wake up call that progress towards equal gender representation has a long road ahead and can’t happen passively - we need an active, collective march fuelled by better access funding, mentoring, and support.

🪜 Nonetheless, we’re optimistic that the march in Australia is underway, seeing amongst other initiatives:

✊ Meanwhile, founders including Jeanette Cheah of HEX and Gemma Lloyd of WORK180 are vocally blazing trails to #BreakTheBias.

🤸‍♀️ It’s a priority because we also know women entrepreneurs are incredibly good for the world. We’ve witnessed the lion’s share of women-led exit value in 2021 coming from healthcare and biotech ventures in the US. And we’re consistently seeing a higher proportion of women founders leading impact businesses in the Giant Leap pipeline, converting to more than 50% of our portfolio companies having a female founder. The work continues.

What we’re thinking about

🌿 The grass is greener. According to Hunter Lovin, Founder of Natural Capital Solutions, grasslands are the key to solving climate change. With a per-weight carbon retention capacity 40x that of the average tree, grasslands are the world’s second largest carbon sink and regeneration of these ecosystems could pull down enough carbon to reach pre-industrial levels.

🧑‍🌾 Farmer wants a life. Kelly Price, Founder of Agreed Earth, is on the case - working directly with farmers to help them access green financing and community support for a regenerative transition. She gave some insight on challenges including traceability for farmers to be able to charge a premium for regenerative produce and carbon-intensive fertiliser suppliers unjustly pushing the carbon responsibility to farmers.

🥘 The big redesign. The transition also needs buy-in from downstream food brands who dictate how the food systems flow, and have the power to stem the emissions while regeneration draws down existing carbon. Modelling by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Food Initiative reports that redesigning procurement to source ingredients from more diverse, upcycled, and regenerative sources could cut a hefty 70% of emissions from the food system.

New paths

Applied is on the lookout for a Junior Accountant

Who Gives A Crap is hiring a UK Business Development Manager.

Change Foods is looking for a Research Scientist - Protein Chemistry and Engineering

Future Super is seeking a HR Coordinator

StartUp Vic is hiring a Head of Partnerships.

Main Sequence is building its Associates team.

🔥 Check out our Giant Leap Fund jobs board for over 100+ available positions. There’s even more jobs at ethical companies on the global B-Work job board.

Giant leaps

✨ HEX’s Jenette Cheah has taken over SmartCompany as a guest editor for its International Womens’ Day Edition.

💪 Congratulations to all of the winners of the Governor of Victoria’s first ever Victoria StartUp Awards. A special shout out to Amber and Seer who were joint winners of StartUp of the Year.

🪄 Simon Griffiths of Who Gives A Crap recently featured on the Too Rare To Die podcast, discussing how they married impact and business.

🌲 Giant Leap has joined the Melbourne chapter of the global Regen network, which includes Patagonia and other impact-minded companies. Interested? You can sign up here.

For the road

🗞️ There’s still a disparity in how women are covered in the news. In a recent global analysis of news, women in the headlines were found to account for only 24% of stories produced. Taking this a step further, The Pudding crunched the headlines revealing that the majority of stories regarding women focused on crime and tend to use more sensationalist headlines. While there’s still work to be done, there is a positive movement on this trend. For instance, words like “sexy”, “fat”, and “housewife” are fading out of the lexicon, and being replaced by other labels such as “founder”, “activist” and “leader”.  

👶 Who Gives A Crap is offering two roles under their Encoreship program. What’s that, you ask? Pioneered by Skincare startup Alpha H, the program looks at reintroducing women from maternity leave back into the workforce with mentoring and support from the organisation. It’s a recognition that coming back to work from maternity leave is a challenge in itself. The roles last for 3 months with an aim to help candidates back into the workforce.

🤓 Have you ever wondered how we assess writing for readability? This primer from The Pudding goes into the various tools used to tidy up and simplify prose, including translating writing into plain language. This involves reducing any sentence down to its core key words and meaning. Why is this important? Plain communication not only ensures your point is conveyed in the correct way, its use also includes and helps out the 20% of the population with a learning disability.

🏎️ New research has revealed more answers on how we can speed up EV adoption.This analysis of EV innovation studies makes a compelling case that using market power alone (such as a carbon tax) is more likely to result in incremental rather than radical innovation in the EV space. Perhaps money better spent upstream on research and supporting deep tech startups?

🌱 How are the top US companies performing in their net zero goals? YouSow, a nonprofit that works to promote corporate social responsibility via shareholder advocacy, just released a ranking of how the top 55 US companies are performing on reducing emissions. Some big names (outside of the energy sector) ranked poorly, including Amazon, Square, Visa, and - surprisingly - Tesla. On the other side of the spectrum, Microsoft and PepsiCo are leading the corporate charge towards net zero.

❤️ It’s B Corp month. It’s an event where B Labs -- the company that certified B Corps -- pulls back the curtain and reveals what makes B Corps so different from their peers. There’s a number of talks, masterclasses and after-work drinks to attend across Australia. Get involved!

👩‍⚕️ “Alexa, I want to talk to a doctor.” That’s all you need to say to be patched through to a health professional now that Amazon has released a new function for its Echo devices. However, using Alexa ain’t cheap, charging those without health insurance $75 per call.

🤖 We’ve been warned for years about robots entering the workforce. But what about high art? One performance of Thomas Melle’s Uncanny Valley is taking this trend to the next level, casting an animatronic robot to play the leading role.

😱 And finally, a definition we all know too well…

Further Reading

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