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Impact Investing and Female Founders

  • Deakin Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC) Level 02, 221 Burwood Highway Burwood, VIC 3125 Australia (map)

The Role of Impact in Business 

Women consumers represent 20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and they are larger than India and China combined as a market. In spite of their power in directing 80% of consumer decisions worldwide, less than 5% of venture investors are female in Silicon Valley. A surprisingly large number of the most successful tech startups have no women in their Boards, and female founders have documented experiencing a harder time raising funding than their male counterparts despite multiple studies showing that startups with female co-founders and executives are more successful at growing their companies.

Rebeca Hwang is a serial entrepreneur who begun her career as an inventor, and then spend a decade founding tech startups and building entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. She has dabbed in social and tech entrepreneurship, venture investments and has taught technology entrepreneurship at Stanford and Tecnologico de Monterrey for half a decade. During this talk, Ms. Hwang will provide her perspective on how this huge underserved market of female consumers can be untapped, and the unique position of women to be protagonists in designing products, founding startups, investing in and growing companies that serve the needs of women with scalable technology solutions.

Ms Hwang will explore the role of impact in making tech investment decisions, and the role of women as investors, founders and consumers. She will discuss where Silicon Valley is failing today and the opportunity that this opens to Australian entrepreneurs.

She will also share her challenges and triumphs in business over 15 years as a social entrepreneur, tech founder, venture investor and educator, and encourage more women to get involved in founding, building, and investing in companies that serve the needs of women around the world.


The panel will include Shanthakumar Bannirchelvam, Managing Director at Global Strategy Partners and entrepreneur Juleigh Robins who is behind Outback Spirit.

Shanthakumar has advised companies in the renewable energy, clean technology, healthcare, and agricultural sectors on strategy and capital raising for the Australia and international markets spanning sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa and Asia. Shanthakumar is also particularly active on outcome-based financing in public health in both developed and developing countries. His work has led him to be invited to speak at Harvard Business School on Impact Investing in Healthcare. 

Juleigh’s vision is to bring Indigenous foods into the mainstream food market and the company is the industry leader supplying the Outback Spirit branded range of products to supermarkets nationally in Australia. In 2000 Juleigh and her partner Ian decided to formalise their relationships with the company’s Indigenous suppliers and established an ethical supply chain that also includes Coles Supermarkets as a partner. Coles philanthropic support of this supply chain through the contributions to the Coles Indigenous Food Fund has ensured that benefits from the sale of Outback Spirit products go back to the Aboriginal people who are developing their own enterprises based on native foods.

Registrations Essential.

Photos may be taken at this event and a full recording will be available on the SPARK Youtube Channel.