“I was really shocked to see the numbers. For me as a business developer, I thought, how can there be such a huge inequality? What can we do? What can we change?” said Antoine Miltenburg, business developer at BOM Brabant Ventures.
BOM, a regional development fund for the province Brabant, is on a mission to secure the province’s position as an innovative tech hub on a global scale, together with TMC & Braventure. This means working with Brabant’s best entrepreneurial talent to help them create groundbreaking products and solutions. They were one of the first to sign #Fundright’s Diversity Statement and are leading the change with the highest number of gender diverse startups in their portfolio of any other VC in the Netherlands. But, as Miltenburg explained, with only five gender diverse startups, they felt this wasn’t enough. We spoke with him about the action plan of BOM, TMC & Braventure to support and champion the female founders of Brabant.
Taking the first step: Actively looking for female founders in your community
With such a massive challenge facing us, what we often hear from new members is that they simply don’t know where to start. But, as Miltenburg explained, it can be simpler than you think. “The first step we took was to actively search for female founders in Brabant so we could hear from them.” They started out with a simple excel sheet. #Fundright’s Bidbook was a big help, allowing them to easily create a list of Brabant based startups. “That saved us a lot of work,” he said. They also contacted networks for female founders and put the word out. “We now have an active group of 15 female founders but there are still many more in Brabant, so it’s just a start.”