Three Microsoft ventures – M12, Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures – announced the second Female Founders Competition, which is meant to assist in raising funds for women entrepreneurs in the fields of "business-to-business, software-as-a-service and deeptech solutions."Any start-ups led by women in Israel, the US, Europe and India may submit an application. Four of the companies will be chosen to receive a total of $6 million and "access to technology, resources, mentoring and other benefits." Mayfield invests primarily in early-stage consumer, enterprise and healthIT companies, while Pivotal Ventures partners with organizations and individuals who wish to push forward social progress in the US. M12, formerly known as Microsoft Ventures, invests in enterprise software companies with a focus on big data and analytics, business SaaS, cloud infrastructure, machine learning and artificial intelligence, productivity and security.Executive vice president of Business Development at Microsoft Peggy Johnson said, "Last year's competition helped highlight that there are innovative female entrepreneurs developing enterprise tech solutions, and they just aren't getting equal access to capital. The tech industry can’t afford to keep leaving women’s good ideas on the table. "We need to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, and together with Mayfield and Pivotal Ventures, we aim to do just that with our second Female Founders Competition," Johnson concluded.Venture funding, according to the statement by Microsoft, is nominal in comparison with investments in male-only-led companies. Last year, according to PitchBook, women-founded companies had 2.3% of the total capital invested in venture-backed start-ups alone.According to MassChallenge and Boston Consulting Group, businesses founded by women delivered over twice as much revenue per dollar invested than their male counterparts.“We are thrilled to partner with M12 and Pivotal Ventures on this innovative Female Founders Competition, through which we will find and invest in women creating built-to-last enterprise companies," said managing director of Mayfield Navim Chaddha. "In addition to providing funding, we plan to share our playbook with competition winners on how to accelerate their journey from idea to iconic company.”“Enterprise technology is shaping our world in countless ways, but it will never reach its full potential unless women and their ideas are equally represented within the field," said philanthropist and founder of Pivotal Ventures Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates."I still can't hold back a smile when a woman founder walks through the door in a pitch meeting because I know the obstacle she's overcome just to get there," said Johnson."If women entrepreneurs receive funding on par with their male colleagues, some estimates indicate that the global economy will experience a $5 trillion boost," said Chaddha.Submissions will be accepted up until December 15. Companies must have at least one female founder and must have raised no more than $5m. in "combined equity funding and/or debt loans upon date of application" in order to be eligible to apply.A live event in March will have the final companies have a sales pitch competition, which will be shortly followed by the announcement of winners. Two of the companies will receive approximately $2m. while the other two will receive upwards of $1m.