Today, more women are breaking free from the traditional, gender-specific roles
and venturing into the business world. Not only are they holding high corporate
positions but they are also successful women entrepreneurs who own almost half of
all businesses in the United States. The steady rise in female entrepreneurs can
be due to many different reasons, most of which share the same rational as their
male counterparts—passion for their ideas, the desire to become their own boss,
and the need to address philanthropic causes. A recent study indicated that 1 out
of every 11 adult women is an entrepreneur in the United States. Women business
owners contribute to the overall employment of 18 million workers and generate anywhere
from $2 to $3 trillion in U.S. economy revenues. Many of the important facts that
follow will support these findings.
1. Demographic characteristics
Studies have shown that successful Women entrepreneurs start their businesses as
a second or third profession. Many of them have experienced a considerable amount
of dissatisfaction with their previous careers and in working for others. Often
times, these innate desires to be their own boss are the driving forces that motivated
them to pursue entrepreneurship.
As a business owner, these once unhappy individuals are now more satisfied and content
with their personal and professional life. In addition, because of their previous
careers, women entrepreneurs enter the business world later on in life, around 40-60
years old. Many of them have higher education degrees, a significant characteristic
that many successful female entrepreneurs have in common. Women entrepreneurs also
tend to offer better health care benefit packages, on the job training and education,
more tuition reimbursement for students and continuing education employees, and
provide more vacation and paid leave options to their staff.
2. International implications
From a large-scale perspective, female entrepreneurs encompass approximately 1/3
of all entrepreneurs worldwide. A recent international study found that women from
low to middle income countries (such as Russia and the Philippines) were more likely
to enter early stage entrepreneurship when compared to those of higher income countries
(such as Belgium and Sweden). A significant factor that may play a role in this
disparity can be contributed to the fact that women from low income countries often
seek an additional means of income to support themselves and their families. As
a result, many of them often resort to entrepreneurship in addition to their current
jobs. However, women entrepreneurs from higher income countries were more successful
at establishing their businesses and exuded more confidence than those of poorer
nations, perhaps because of the availability of resources and financial backing
from families and friends.
In addition, women who had higher education experience were more likely to transform
their existing businesses into successful ones, proving that learning and work familiarity
is universal across all cultures and greatly contributes to the overall success
of any business venture.
Recent studies also indicate that women entrepreneurs are assembling themselves
into groups or confederacies. The reasons behind this trend have to do with the
desire to establish solid women business networks, where members can collectively
pool resources and expertise together.
Women business networks have also been found to be more generous in their philanthropic
contributions. At least seven out of ten women entrepreneurs of a new business volunteer
their time at least once per month to community-related causes. In addition, 31%
of them contribute $5,000 or more to various charities annually.
Even though many female entrepreneurs have home-based and service-related businesses,
they are unafraid of technology and have recently entered many industries that were
once male-dominated, such as construction, design, manufacturing, and architecture.
In addition, the retail industry still makes up the largest share of women-owned
One of the advantages of working in a women-owned new business is that the workforce
is more diverse. Women entrepreneurs are more likely to employ a staff that is more
gender-balanced, comprising of 52% women and 48% men on average. On the other hand,
most male-owned businesses have a workforce that is often more than 65% men.
4. Sources of capital
The fact that more women entrepreneurs have risen in the past few years has been
made possible in part by the easy availability of business capital. Women entrepreneurs
tend to fund their startups with different sources of funding, including “bootstrap”
finances (personal money from savings and credit cards) and commercial loans. Today,
not only are there more grants and bank loans made available to women entrepreneurs,
but there are also more diversity programs that specialize in providing seed funding
to female business owners.
However, despite the recent achievements, research shows that it still remains difficult
for women of color to get access to seed funding. According to one recent study
on women entrepreneurs, approximately 60% of Caucasian women business owners were
able to obtain bank credit, compared to 50% of Hispanic, 45% of Asian, 42 % of Native
American, and 38% of African-American women entrepreneurs.
Much of a business woman’s drive to pursue entrepreneurship is due to the immense
passion she has for her work. Many women entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking
risks and are two times more likely to make above average risks than their male
equivalent, making monetary gain a less likely factor in their business pursuits.
Instead, they possess very strong business ideas and seek any and all means to share
their business ideas with others who may benefit from their discoveries.
Another motivating factor behind women entrepreneurs is the desire for control.
Many successful female business owners are provoked by the opportunity to be their
own boss and run their own company, a prospect that would never occur if they had
worked for someone else. Women entrepreneurs are also motivated by philanthropic
commitment to society. Their new businesses will greatly stimulate economic development
in their community and create new jobs for many people.
Another inspiring component that many successful women entrepreneurs share is the
fact they have the tendency to balance family life and career. Many people may have
had doubt in this ability when these women first entered the field because of the
long work hours, but these reservations have often been proven wrong. It is no wonder
that many successful women entrepreneurs have an amazing ability to multitask, properly
balancing both personal and professional life with their goal-oriented approach.
6. Present challenges
Even though female entrepreneurship and the formation of women business networks
is steadily rising, there are still many prospective women entrepreneurs who do
not follow through with their great business ideas. This is widely due to the fact
that many challenges exist for them to overcome. First and foremost, many prospective
women entrepreneurs may fear the debt associated with their startup. They may not
have the resources available to make educated decisions about properly raising capital
or may even have been discouraged by family and friends. As mentioned earlier, if
an entrepreneur truly believes in their business ideas, then they will seek any
means to move forward and commercialize their concepts.
A second challenge may be their lack of knowledge in information technology and
business skills. Even though many successful business ventures are IT-related, there
are many other thriving industries that do exist. Experience is always an advantage;
however, one just has to conduct ample research on their industry, their consumer
base and competitors, and speak to entrepreneurs who have already gone through the
process. Entrepreneurship is a learning experience and even the most successful
business owners have had to learn new things throughout the development of their
Another major challenge that many women entrepreneurs may face is the traditional
gender-roles society may still have on women. Entrepreneurship is still a male-dominated
field, and it may be difficult to surpass these conventional views. However, it
is very important to be aware that despite the negativity that may exist, over 9
million women own their own businesses in the U.S. In fact, of all U.S. enterprises
that exist, over 40% comprise of women-owned businesses. The United States Census
Bureau predicts that by the year 2025, the percentage of women entrepreneurship
will increase to over 55%. Many women feel a great deal of empowerment by the opportunity
to own their own company and may now be motivated by such high statistics.
7. Future prospects
There are many promising predictions for women
entrepreneurs in the near future.
More coalitions will be formed among female associates, enabling the establishment
of female business networks to flourish in the business world. In addition, the
U.S. Census envisions that women entrepreneurs and female business networks will
both remain dominant, comprising of over 50% of all business in the United States
in the next several years. Many women
entrepreneurs with home-based and service-related
businesses will eventually shift to the information technology industry, making
this once male-dominated commerce to be one of equal gender appeal.
With progressive changes, the United States economy will refine itself to a financial
system that will rely heavily on the internet and e-commerce for their business
practices. Enterprises will also focus more on women-related issues and principles.
Women entrepreneurs have become a strong driving force in today’s corporate world.
Not only are they able to equalize their duties of both motherhood and entrepreneurship
but they also comprise of almost half of all businesses owned today. Many women
entrepreneurs have an average age of 40-60 years old because they have had previous
careers in other areas. Their primary goal is not monetary reward but rather personal
satisfaction and community involvement. Many of them are educated and assemble into
groups in order to pool business ideas and resources together.
Women entrepreneurs also have more access to business capital and seed funding than
ever before. Yet despite the many opportunities, many prospective women entrepreneurs
are intimidated to move forward. Overall, there are many promising forthcoming predictions
for women business owners. They will continue to form female business networks,
transition towards information technology, and rely strongly on e-commerce as their
form of trade.