Hubertus Väth






Man says …

Hubertus Väth, Managing Director of NewMark, dedicates his column in the women’s finance magazine “Courage” to courageous female entrepreneurs and start-ups. He honours their struggle to reconcile work and family life – a balancing act that he knows first-hand and for which he has deep respect in a country that poses particular challenges for female entrepreneurs.

The financial industry plays a key role in the struggle for equality. It is here that financing and investment decisions are made and thus the thumbs up or thumbs down for ideas and companies. But the financial industry has long since ceased to consist solely of large, monolithic banks: there are now countless small companies that deal with financial issues and help us in our everyday lives. This shows: If you want to make a difference, you no longer have to take the traditional route via a banking apprenticeship, you don’t have to start out big. On the contrary: nowhere can you make more of a difference than with start-ups. None of today’s billion-dollar companies started out big – we all know the stories about companies whose founders once laid the foundations for today’s major corporations in their parents’ garage. With Verena Pausder as Chairwoman of the Start-up Association, the German start-up scene has a new, female face who could not represent the cause of female founders better. She is listened to, respected and plays a key role in setting the course. For me, she is a great encouragement for women to dare to start up. There is no question that the path for women in the start-up scene is not easy: just 20 per cent of all start-ups are founded by women, and start-ups led by women receive less and less investor money on average (source: KfW). One of the reasons is that venture capital is still male-dominated. Nevertheless, it is worth taking this path. Prosperity in Germany is still predominantly achieved through entrepreneurial activity. Anyone who, like me, grows up in a family where the parents run a business together – in my case a butcher’s shop with a catering business – has a different view of many things. The roles in my family were also clearly divided: While my father was in charge of purchasing, accounting and production, my mother was responsible for sales, marketing and customer service. Education and housework were done by whoever was available. No matter who was absent or ill: The other person had to step in. Over the years, however, the distribution of roles shifted. With increasing competition from large chains, catering and therefore customer service became more and more of a key success factor. When we finally stopped production altogether and only provided top-class service with bought-in products, the mother was the natural boss after this transformation. It was the right entrepreneurial solution to survive the competition. And it is an example that should give us courage. Women have the opportunity to be at the forefront of change. With their ideas, their creativity and, of course, the courage to face these challenges. I have no doubt that they can be successful after my experience as a serial founder and more than 25 years as the owner of a communications agency focussing on the financial sector. During this time, I have worked with many highly qualified women and helped some of them find their way into self-employment or the boardroom. They had a harder time than their male colleagues, which I always felt was unfair. But times are finally changing. Things are moving forward. Reflect on your strengths and stay the course. Time is on your side. Stand out. Have courage. And maybe have a look in your garage to see if there hasn’t been a place waiting for you and your ideas for a long time.



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