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Challenges Of A Female Entrepreneur

Once upon a time, entrepreneurship was considered a man’s domain. However, times have changed and according to a 2016 report, 11.3 million businesses in the US are owned by women. Data collected in 2015 by the National Association of Women Business Owners states that women-led businesses generate more than $1.5 trillion in sales. The good news is that these numbers are growing day by day and many women of today are successfully entering the business industry and closing the gender gap.

Female Entrepreneur
Unfortunately, the road to success is not an easy one for any entrepreneur, be it male or female. However, women claim to face more difficulties in starting a business than their male counterparts. What are these obstacles? Let’s find out!

Lack of funds

Many investors hesitate to fund businesses run by women. Although it may be unintentional, men do side with those of the same gender. Full Circle Insights, a marketing and sales analytics company, reports that venture capitalists have a habit of investing in startups that are headed by people of their own “tribe.” The 2014 Babson College Report also indicates that less than 3 percent of venture capital-funded companies had females in the CEO position.

Some men also have a preconceived notion that women are not as competent as them. Sometimes the importance of women-related products is difficult to convey to male investors, which also makes them reluctant to hand out funds. Although the difficulties women face in acquiring funds can’t be solved overnight, a good business plan is the first step to getting the necessary funding.

Lack of role models

If I asked you to name five of the top entrepreneurs you are likely to answer: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Kevin Systrom, and Brian Chesky. But what about Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Marian Ilitch (founder of Little Caesar’s Pizza), and Doris Fisher (co-founder of Gap)? Surely they are equally successful in their respective fields and are doing very well in their chosen career path. Why do we tend to forget the names of women entrepreneurs? This is because in our society, men acquire more visibility in industries that are more prominent while women usually start business in areas where they have prior experience, skill, and interest.

Take the tech industry for example. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census data reports that less than 30 percent of workers in computer and math-related fields are women while the global technology meetups account for only 29 percent of the female population.

So how can the number of female startups in male-dominated industries increase? Ruta Aidis, roject Director at the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute, recommends hiring more women in technical positions. “When women start working in these industries, they will naturally develop interests which will encourage them to build their own startups in the relevant field.”

Balancing personal and professional lives

Giving equal time to both work and personal life is a goal of many entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender. Initiating a startup takes considerable time and even the males in the field struggle to juggle their family and business life with stability.  However, the struggle becomes more intense for mothers, as “mompreneurs” have double responsivity. They not only have to commit to their work full time but handle kids as well. Of course, in the business world, no one will come and hand you a resource book. You have to become disciplined when it comes to managing time, and finding the way to keep up with boththe kids and work is the ultimate key to success.

Fear of failure

A 2012 survey conducted by Babson College rated fear of failure as the top concern of women preparing to launch startups. Failure is the biggest possibility of any business venture and sadly, nine out of ten startups do fail in its first year.

This is the hard truth and entrepreneurs, regardless of their gender, should always consider the possibility of a failure when starting a business. Failure is considered the inevitable journey to success and sometimes facing a series of challenges can empower women.. Take J.K. Rowling for example. Her idea for a story was brilliant. But she struggled to find a publisher. Of course, she did not give up and one day managed to find a company that agreed to publish her book. Today, her books have sold more than 400 million copies and she herself has a net worth of more than $1 billion.

Are women succeeding at entrepreneurship?

Despite the hurdles, women have proven that they are good for business.  Studies show that women-led startups tend to make better profits than their male counterparts because women assess risk better than man and are less prone to overconfidence.

 

 

November 10th, 2017

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