Women entrepreneurship is growing strongly and the data says, as of 2017 more than 11 million American businesses are owned by women. They run 9 million jobs, and sales turnover has been around $1.7 trillion.
That is inspiring good news like the United States women soccer team winning the women’s world cup 2019. But there are miles to go.
According to studies, notwithstanding the huge success of many women entrepreneurs including Oprah Winfrey, known as the “first lady of talk shows” and Sheryl Sandberg, simmering challenges exist.
Despite the encouraging stats of the National Association of Women Business Owners, a recent survey explored the experiences of female CEOs and business owners and highlighted the key challenges they faced and how they are tackling such problems.
Raising capital has been a big challenge for women-owned businesses. A Babson College report in 2014 has highlighted the lag in venture capital funding for companies with female CEOs.
Bonnie Crater, president, and CEO of Full Circle Insights attributes the trend to the penchant of some venture capitalists in favoring their own tribe. An example can be a Stanford-educated investor backing another Stanford guy’s business.
That pattern also means VC firms with female partners would invest in women-run start-ups, which is 6 percent of all the U.S. firms.
As a solution, Crater wants women-led businesses looking for funding to build a great team and a good business plan. Investors normally support businesses that show the potential to grow their valuation to more than $1 billion, Crater noted.
Many male-dominated industries do not adequately recognize the leadership of women, according to Alison Gutterman, CEO, and president of Jelmar.
In an interview with media, the woman CEO noted the problem of skewed recognition can be resolved by female entrepreneurs joining women business owner groups to find mentors and peers who can offer reality checks and encourage with outside perspectives.
Fear of failure
The scare of failure deters many business owners including women from realizing their potential. Kristi Piehl, founder, and CEO of Media Minefield advises all women business owners not to allow insecurities to engulf their dreams.
The road to success has always been filled with losses, mishaps, and mistakes, but those with clarity on their destination have a higher chance of succeeding, Piehl observed.
New initiatives helping
In line with the swelling ranks of female entrepreneurs, many support initiatives are also active in seeking to maximize the economic potential of women-owned businesses.
The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) in association with Washington CORE floated an entrepreneurial ecosystem model to help stakeholders tap regional economy ecosystems for broadening opportunities for women business owners.
The NWBC has been hosting many in-person town hall discussions to augment the mechanisms. It held town hall meetings in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, San Jose, and St. Louis and attracted entrepreneurs and representatives from government, support organizations, finance, and large corporations.
Their recommendations for federal and regional stakeholders include active mobilization of resources, promoting traditional and alternate ways of capital access, the launch of federally-subsidized internship programs, and enhancing awareness about the Small Business Innovative Research and Technology Transfer programs.