Who said angels had no sex? Business angels are essentially male with only 5-15% women investors in angel networks across Europe. Angels may be getting younger over the past years as more entrepreneurs start investing while still in business or retire early but want to play a role as equity holder, board member, mentor and coach for budding SMEs. But women angels remain scarce. And yet their contribution to the real economy could simply double the flows of finance that can support start-ups and scale-ups in Europe. At a time when European feel their ecosystem lags not only the US but also increasingly Asia, when 45% of European nuggets seem to find IPO exits better, simpler and faster the other side of the Atlantic, it is urgent to stimulate female investment and to engage with more women. How to start, how to grow, how to mitigate risks: we will discuss how women can take the step, drawing from unique research on motivation and obstacles to women angel investing across European countries. We will benchmark with the US and share tips for SMEs how to pitch to angel investors, men and women specifically.
Relator: Mrs. Marie-Elisabeth RuslingCEO & Board Member, Business Angels Europe (BAE)
Marie-Elisabeth Rusling is the CEO and a Board Member of Business Angels Europe (BAE), representing the most active angel networks in Europe and over 43 000 business angels towards the EU and in the early stage investment market. Every year, BAE member networks invest over €2.5 bn in the European economy, funding and accompanying top innovators and start-ups. Based in Brussels for over 20 years, Marie-Elisabeth has coordinated numerous European programmes to support SMEs – from access to finance to internationalisation, from innovation to environment - at EUROCHAMBRES and CCI FRANCE. Leading multinational teams and managing complex expert networks across the EU and beyond she has built solid management expertise and partnerships while acting as a sherpa for numerous European SMEs eager to engage with EU programmes and decision makers. She also coaches start-ups on EU opportunities and pitching to investors, sits on European jury panels dedicated to innovation (SME Instrument II, Youth essay competition). An associate at Low Europe, an EU affair consultancy and a SME founder and director, she also enjoys supporting students in their career choices as an advisor and coach. Marie-Elisabeth holds Masters Degrees in International Management from ESCP- EUROPE Business School (Diplôme des Grandes Ecoles / DiplomKauffrau), and in Literature and Languages from La Sorbonne University. She has lived and worked in Austria, Germany, France and in the UK.