Today’s society is increasingly open to female entrepreneurship. But do you really know who the new female entrepreneurs are? Let’s forget the clichés and go and meet them. More visible and publicised than before, women entrepreneurs still remain a mystery to many.
The world’s largest emerging market
At the sixth edition of the “Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network” (DWEN), the founder of the “Global Entrepreneur Council” stated that women represent the biggest emerging market in the world! In Belgium, women represented only 33% of the self-employed in 2016 and 34.5% in 2017. The room for improvement is therefore real and is even becoming a priority. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is moreover part of the 17 United Nations goals for 2020.
Drop the clichés
Clichés are hard on women who want to start their own business. “Women entrepreneurs can’t have a private life or children”, “women are naturally weaker than “men”,… Quora, a discussion site to better understand the world, asked in 2014 what discrimination women faced. The publication reached more than 100 responses that denounced these clichés and discriminations.
Confiance, capacités et capitaux
Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has set up a foundation that supports women’s entrepreneurship. For her, the problems facing women entrepreneurs can be summed up in 3 “C”:
- Confidence: Women still too often lack confidence.
- Capacity: some women still lack access to all necessary education.
- Capital: raising capital is usually difficult, but even more so if you are a woman.
A recent article published in Harvard Business Review has indeed confirmed the latter finding. The authors asked an organisation that supports businesses to analyse companies created by men and those created by women. Their conclusion: on average, companies run by women are considered less viable than those run by men. However, the study found that women who emphasise the “social” side of their business are more likely to get the funding they seek.
A new generation of women entrepreneurs
Despite these obstacles, more and more women are entering entrepreneurship. A study by consultancy PwC entitled “The female millennial: a new era of talent” shows that women from the millennial generation are more likely to embark on entrepreneurship than their predecessors. The new generation is said to be more confident and ambitious. These young women entrepreneurs are not letting the clichés get in their way, and are paving the way for all those who will follow them.
Despite the obstacles, women entrepreneurs are becoming more and more present. They are a real asset to our society and deserve all our support. Hive5 is very proud to have many women entrepreneurs in its community.