EMPOWERMENT!: Female Entrepreneurship
According to the World Bank, female owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of other businesses, providing almost 3 trillion dollars to the economy, and around 23 million jobs. It's no surprise, female entrepreneurship is on the rise. In 2021, women accounted for 41% of MBA students at the country’s top schools according to TIME Magazine. However, it has been a long and arduous climb to get these numbers and even then there is a long way to go.
As history has shown, there have been, and remain, quite a few challenges for female entrepreneurs considering 100 years ago women had just gained the right to vote. The World Bank outlines a few of these challenges in a report done in 2022. To begin with, most female entrepreneurs around the world work in the informal sector or in fields that are traditionally associated with women, such as businesses started in homes. In many cultures where women are required to stay at home because of domestic duties to the family, or even for safety reasons, it is the only way that business and family can be juggled, this figure ranges around 30% worldwide and mostly concentrated in underdeveloped economies.
Another major challenge is access to vocational and technical experience. Most women lack experience in the wage sector, prior to starting a business to gain the appropriate knowledge needed. Not to mention that those women looking to expand their knowledge often find it hard due to the unfriendly hours that internet points of business function. Places such as the innovative new coworking space in the heart of Nocatee, the Link, provide spaces in a community oriented location that encourages women to establish connections, spark new ideas, and become the next great entrepreneur.
Importantly as well, access to financial aid is often hard to come by for female start-ups. As the World Bank cites, “only 38 out of 141 economies set out equal legal rights for men and women in key areas such as opening a bank account. In many cultures it is also required for women to have the permission of their spouse to open a bank account if their assets are not already tied together. Therefore, many resort to micro loans or loans from family and friends which are certainly not ideal for long term investment.
Even so we see a determined spirit as more role models and resources are being made more available for small businesses and especially women.
GEM, or Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, states that in Latin American and Caribbean countries women are becoming more emboldened to start business in formal sectors. For example in Colombia, women were twice as likely as men to provide an innovative offer. It is also important to remember the contribution of women of color to these numbers despite the challenges they face. In the United States, an article by Zippia explains how 50 percent of female operated businesses are owned by women of color, with 21% belonging to Black or African American women, 18% to Hispanic or Latino, 9% to Asian, and 1.7% to Native American and Pacific Islander women.
The future is changing and female entrepreneurship is on the rise. There is still a ways to go to reach where we need to be, but bringing continued awareness to this issue is the first step in bringing about a brighter, more colorful future.