This powerful course brings to the forefront, the challenges and gender-specific constraints women face when they are starting or growing a business. It also demonstrates the importance of the SDGs in addressing pertinent gender issues prevalent in Entrepreneurship.From the author:“This powerful course brings to the forefront, the challenges and gender-specific constraints women face when they are starting or growing a business. It also demonstrates the importance of the SDGs in addressing pertinent gender issues prevalent in Entrepreneurship. ”
Women's Entrepreneurship ** Introduction**
This lesson will assist you to understand why it is important to care about Women's Entrepreneurship.
The first section of this lesson outlines the characteristics which define an Entrepreneur. Then, you will further explore the importance of Women Entrepreneurship through a series of powerful facts and interactive questions. Let's start with discussing what defines Entrepreneurship.
In brief, an Entrepreneur is… Anyone who is working for themselves and retains profits Anyone who owns an enterprise with workers (for at least 1-3 years) Anyone who is an innovator Anyone who has a strategic voice in an enterprise (e.g. top manager) Anyone with ownership of 51% of company share Now, on the next slide, let's test what you've learned so far...
Which of these is true about Necessity Driven Entrepreneurship ?
Why should you care about Women's Entrepreneurship? Globally, women’s entrepreneurship is increasingly understood as a key driver for inclusive economic growth, as it could narrow existing gender gaps in the labour market.
Moreover, economies characterised by high levels of female entrepreneurial activity are **more resilient to financial crises and experience economic slowdowns less frequently. **
For women, entrepreneurship offers** potential of greater wealth and upward mobility** (Opportunity Driven), or provides an **alternative to wage employment **(Necessity Driven).
Overall, it is expected to contribute to **advancing women’s rights ** and gender equality, both intrinsic values of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Now, explore a few key statistics regarding Women's Entrepreneurship...
Many economies don't protect women from gender-based discrimination in access to credit. (World Bank. Women, Business and the Law 2019) This includes 83% of economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, 72% in East Asia and the Pacific, and 65% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Worldwide, at least 30% of women in the non-agricultural labour-force are self-employed in the informal sector; in Africa, this figure is 63%. In the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), a large proportion of women entrepreneurs are Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs). They remain concentrated in low value-added, lower-skilled retail and service businesses, or at the micro level in the informal sector. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), they tend to be clustered in agricultural and handicrafts sectors * (UN ESCAP. Women’s Entrepreneurship: Lessons and Good Practice; World Bank. Female Entrepreneurship).*
Women remain widely underrepresented in **growth-oriented ** entrepreneurship (Opportunity Driven).
For example, in the US, only one in four startups have a female founder in the booming tech sector.
Moreover, women-owned high-tech firms are more likely to be organised as sole proprietorships or partnerships during their start-up year, while male entrepreneurs tend to develop larger and more sophisticated businesses (Canada-US Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders).
Women's Entrepreneurship Gender-specific Constraints
As learned in the previous lesson, there are clear gender discrepancies in entrepreneurship.
Women globally face gender-specific constraints, derived from gender norms and values, in starting and growing their businesses.
*The first part of this lesson looks at constraints within StartUp businesses. *
Challenge: Selection of Sector General Entrepreneurship Constraints Lack of information and capital Barriers to entry and exit, including costs and capital requirements Limited access to finance and capital ** Gender-Specific Constraints** Over-representation in traditional sectors that have low start-up costs and limited barriers to entry Female entrepreneurs, especially those in informal enterprises, operate home-based businesses
Challenge: Access to Finance
Gender-specific Constraints Less favourable profile with investors since women own small businesses and do not have adequate collateral Financial institutions may require higher collateral from female entrepreneurs (some banks may also require women to have a male co-signer in order to open accounts) Low financial market participation Preference for own savings to finance enterprises instead of credit from financial institutions
Gender-specific Constraint for Scale-Ups. *This section discusses the challenges which affect Scale-Ups. * Studies from the US and Canada point to the following key barriers that are most acute for women trying to grow their businesses. (Reference: Canada-US Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders)
Challenge: Access to growth capital (Tech sector in US and Canada) Firms with at least one female founder receive less than 16% of all venture capital funding Firms with only female founders, the figure drops to 8%
Why is this? Women are less likely to seek funding and tend to rely on personal savings. They are also less likely to receive funding when they do seek it. Venture Capitalists size up a company’s potential based on its founder’s gender Questions that VCs ask to men are ”promotion questions” vs to women are “prevention questions”
Challenge: Access to talent, networks and expertise Women start with different networks, and tend to spend more time with other women. This limits access to business leaders and technical talents (who are mostly men) Women’s networks can also shrink over time. Therefore, women struggle to find coaches, mentors, and partners
Challenge: Family economics - gender division of labour There may be competing Work vs Family obligations, which create time constraints and additional stress whilst trying to grow a business. There are expectations on women to shoulder unpaid care work They may also possess a drive to “do it all”
Challenge: Social and psychological biases There are conscious and unconscious biases that cause investors and others to treat women entrepreneurs differently. This leads women to doubt their own abilities and lack in confidence Women are more likely not to have the “overconfidence” that men have as they start and scale a business Therefore, it is harder to develop a trust-based business, or sponsorship relationships with someone of a different gender
Women tend to have access to networks which are mostly made up of other women. What impact can this have on their business pursuits?
Women's Entrepreneurship ** Women's Entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals**
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls Let's start with the targets for SDG 5.
5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere This target calls for legal frameworks to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non-discrimination based on sex.
5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation Decent work for women is only possible with an environment free from sexual violence.
5.4 Recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate Target 5.4 addresses the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work on women and girls that take away their time and opportunities for education or economic activities.
5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life Target 5.5 ensures women’s substantial participation and influence in decision-making, which is essential in all public and private activities for women.
How can promoting shared domestic responsibility in households, positively affect business women and entrepreneurs?
This section explores more of the SDG 5 targets.
SDG 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere Target 1.4 refers to equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership and control over land and other forms of properties. These are all essential for women to start/scale up their businesses.
**SDG 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all ** Target 4.3 about equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university.
SDG 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
SDG 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries Finally, Target 10.2 calls to empower and promote inclusion, irrespective of sex.
Women's Entrepreneurship Overcoming the Challenges
Overcoming the Challenges This lesson will assist you to understand the recommended strategies which individuals and businesses can use to tackle the gender issues and associated challenges present within Entrepreneurship.
Firstly, let's do quick review of what you've learned so far in this course...
This lesson presents several key strategies to overcome challenges in women's entrepreneurship. These are...
Strategies Address the socio-cultural barriers and attitudes that constrain women’s entrepreneurship potential Tackle credit constraints Enhance access to markets, networks and technologies Accelerators, incubators and institutions to take bolder actions to support women owned businesses Expand the use of private sector “supplier diversity” programmes Leverage public sector procurement to provide access to capital and large contracts
First, let's explore the first strategy which is about addressing socio-cultural barriers and attitudes.
Strategy: Address the socio-cultural barriers and attitudes that constrain women’s entrepreneurship potential We need holistic approaches to target the gender disparities in technical and financial skills, and levels of empowerment, as well as tackle gender stereotypes and prejudices. For example...
Tackling gender stereotypes and prejudices on many levels (e.g. within families, communities and education systems and the business environment). Strategies include: Providing solutions to care responsibilities: e.g. update childcare benefits and other family policies Engaging men: Husbands, community leaders, business mentors and sponsors as ‘Gate-keepers’ or ‘Agents of Change’
Addressing socio-cultural barriers and attitudes also includes: Providing women with technical skills and access to finance Empowering women through soft skills development, boosting self-esteem, and offering access to peer-based networks
Which of these is not a useful approach to tackling socio-cultural barriers and attitudes related to gender?
Strategy: Tackle credit constraints This includes issues such as... Limited financial literacy Gender norms that give husbands control over finances and assets Lack of financial products -there is a need for non-traditional financing schemes, such as online crowd funding
**Google for Start-Ups ** Google for Startups is Google’s initiative to help startups thrive across every corner of the world. It offers helpful tips and tools and best practices for moving a business forward.
Female Founders Competition This is a global contest to identify and fund top women entrepreneurs who are leading enterprise tech startups.
**Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF) IFC and Goldman Sachs ** Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is a global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital.
World Bank's Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative supports women entrepreneurs by scaling up access to financial products and services, building capacity, expanding networks, offering mentors, and providing opportunities to link with domestic and global markets.
**Financial Alliance for Women ** The Financial Alliance for Women comprises a diverse array of members, from small financial institutions to regional players and large commercial banks. Members work all over the world, helping each other build profitable, sustainable Women’s Market programs as they lift up the female economy.
This content may be based on an underlying assumption that is not true for all societies and cultures.
Excellent and precise information. Love the course so far. Smart and easy. Well done.