Female Founders Day

Not only do women start up differently, but thus far they also found less startups. The government funding programs EXIST Gründerstipendium (14% women; 26% mixed teams) and the Berlin Startup Stipendium (20% women, 35% mixed teams) reflect this assumption. Although these numbers exceed the general startup rates in 2020 of 12% (women’s teams) and 18% (mixed teams), we as a university want to create a climate that meets the multi-faceted needs of female founders and those interested in starting a business.

On October 7, we therefore invite you to the Female Founders Day at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, in partnership with Science & Startups. A virtual event, that is not only meant to inspire, but also to stimulate your mind, to give impulses and, last but not least, to invite an open exchange of experiences.

The heart of the event is formed by so-called Safe Spaces, where the active discourse of start-up-relevant topics in a room full of like-minded people is aimed at.

Please note: The event is open to all interested parties and look forward to a diverse discourse. However, the focus is explicitly on an exchange of experiences and networking among female founders of Berlin universities.

For more info, scroll down!

Registration is free, the event will be held online. Please register at this link.


Key Notes

Scientific impulses on female entrepreneurship: In eight minutes each, three scientists present the findings and learnings that concern them in the context of female entrepreneurship and derive missions that not only the university and the economy, but also society must face.

Safe Spaces

The Safe Spaces take place in parallel. In addition to valuable content imparted by speakers, coaches and facilitators, an active exchange between the participants is to be encouraged.

  • BUILDING THE PERFECT BOSS with wavemakers.io

In just a few years, the 40-hour workweek founded by Henry Ford will celebrate its 100th anniversary. While the world around us is changing rapidly and is characterized by disruption, old work structures and assumptions are being clung to. Late in the pandemic, the opportunity must be seized to replace male-dominated leadership structures. Current research results clearly show that women make the better leaders, yet only a few are found at the top of the free economy. Leadership styles should not be gendered, but should combine the best of proven and validated assumptions and pair profit with purpose.

So what does it look like, the leadership style that corresponds to today’s zeitgeist? What qualities does a leader need to bring to the table in order to make not only economic success, but also human resources flourish? In this Safe Space, we will explore the individual skills that will determine the future of leadership in an interactive workshop.

Details on Workshops


In the best case, growth in startups is an organic process with which all relevant areas have been able to develop appropriately. As a rule, it doesn’t work that way. Globalization and digitization, project complexity, more dynamic growth targets, recruiting, etc.; all of this increasingly brings entrepreneurs and their management teams to borderline areas.

Too little time for real strategy development and exchange with others. Lack of responsiveness to market changes. Healthy numbers on paper, but a feeling of being out of control and losing quality of work and life as too high a price to pay. Lack of clarity about what you really stand for as a company. These are just some of the symptoms that result from growing too fast and unhealthily. Nevertheless, the buzzwords „growth hacks“ and „scaling“ are on everyone’s lips. However, a company should not simply grow wildly, but above all healthily.

Sustainable business models and sustainable growth, are found primarily in the area of social business. Almost half of the social enterprises in Germany are founded by women. In this Safe Space we want to discuss what startups and especially female founders need to grow healthily.


The culture of failure has been preached at the latest with the advent of lean startups and agile work structures. „Fail fast, fail often, fail forward!“ is the claim to fame. Easier said than done. Women who are active in so-called male domains are punished more severely when they make mistakes and must expect their competence to be questioned. Not to mention the fact that women are generally more risk-averse and rarely adorn themselves with phrases like „What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

In this Safe Space, we want to talk about the failure that people usually want to hide. Not the romanticized failure that led to a grandiose business idea – the mere failure, without any euphemisms. Let’s make it socially acceptable together, after all, we all have to go through it at some point. And while we’re on the subject of clichés, a problem shared is a problem halved. So here’s to failure, loud and proud!


While startups currently refer to agile and lean processes, in science it can sometimes take decades before the research object can move out of the lab and into the real world. Although both are hypothesis-based, most research does not focus on commercializing the results – let alone developing a marketable product or service. While patents and other forms of intellectual property can be significant sources of revenue, the opportunities for commercialization are rarely fully exploited in the context of entrepreneurship. The trend of research-based companies is currently on the rise, but female entrepreneurs with STEM backgrounds are often sought in vain. Together, we would like to shed light on how women from the research sector can be strengthened and inspired for entrepreneurship.


In companies led by women, VCs invested only 2.3% of the available venture capital worldwide last year. The overwhelming majority of 82% of startups funded by the private equity industry do not have a female co-founder on the team. To be sure, this is partly because women are, in effect, simply founding fewer and are primarily active in social startups, which are rarely a VC case. But that is not all. The prevailing bias should also not be ignored here: Investors treat founders differently. This is noticeable, among other things, in the questions. While men are asked so-called „promotion questions,“ such as about the total addressable market, women are asked primarily about prevention, such as how they intend to defend their market share.

New technologies promise changes in the investment process. According to a recent forecast by Gartner Inc, AI will be involved in 75% of venture capitalists‘ investment decisions by 2025, up from less than 5% today. Hopefully, AIs will be less biased than humans and contribute to a fairer distribution of capital. These and other topics will be discussed in a panel of investors and experts.


Of course, pitches are a must at an event centered around the buzzword fempreneurship. In three-minute pitches, five teams from the four universities present their companies. The goal is to give them visibility in the community and beyond, provide feedback on their pitch, product or business model, generate enthusiasm for what they’re building, and maybe even light a fire or two in people interested in starting a business.


In the history of the women’s movement, it has rarely been just one woman who has drawn attention to herself and the cause. They have acted collectively and made their voices heard against structural ills. Awareness of these outdated structures is slowly rising in the mainstream, but the work is far from over. We need to band together instead of working against each other. We need to form bonds and continue to stand strong against these structures. Let’s work for and with each other instead of sharpening elbows. Because together we are stronger!