Empowering the women’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
The feminine power is set to redefine how mother nature has been seen for millennia. A world where women make up a significant majority in all sectors of the economy will be a tremendous shift that can no longer be ignored. The United Nations projects that by 2022, 59% of all exporting countries will employ women in their workforce, eclipsing the current 40%.
The term ‘empower‘ is employed in many disciplines to describe a transition of power from one person or entity to another. The word has a broad connotation, and can vary from case to case. In this article, the usage of empowering will be treated as one that refers to empowerment for women, and not in any other way.
An increase in female entrepreneurs is a crucial enabler to achieving this aim. Twelve years ago, only 7% of small businesses were owned by women. Today, it has grown to more than 20%. A lot of this growth can be attributed to the eCommerce revolution. Today, one in every ten small businesses is a woman-owned business. The majority of them are small-scale businesses. According to a recent report published by the World Bank, women own 17% of all small businesses in the United States and other developed countries.
In the past few years, women have been driving the e-Commerce industry to new heights, taking advantage of the opportunities that it has created for them. The internet provides an accessible platform for women to start businesses and access markets. In a recent survey by PayPal, more than 75% of women reported running their businesses from home. Additionally, 30% of all high-growth eCommerce companies were founded by women in 2015. Purchasing power is another major factor driving their success.
Online purchases in the U.S. increased from $11.5 billion in 2010 to $143 billion in 2016, outshining all other consumer sectors, including food & beverage and health & wellness. Online retail has also experienced a steady incline at a rate of 8-10% since 2012, reaching an estimated 4% of the total US retail for 2016.
“The global picture of women’s entrepreneurship and venture capital” – a report by the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) studies team in partnership with the Centre for Entrepreneurs, London School of Economics. The report was commissioned by UKTI to help understand the size of the female entrepreneur sector in critical global markets.
Current challenges as a women entrepreneur
Considering recent statistics of women entrepreneurs and their increasing influence, there is an excellent opportunity for using technology to empower women. There are plenty of challenges women face at every stage of building a business, whether it be in accessing the proper support and funding or in the development and execution of their venture’s strategy.
The establishment of a “Women’s Business Chamber of Global Entrepreneurs” will help the empowerment of women entrepreneurs by incorporating and addressing critical issues faced by them, including:
One could argue that in the age of digital communication and growing advances in technology, a Women’s Chamber Of Global Entrepreneurs does not contribute to women’s empowerment. On the contrary, there is an excellent opportunity for women to use technology as an enabler for their success.
The economic power of women has steadily increased in the past few decades. It is estimated that women control 60% of global consumer spending. They are outpacing men in the number of undergraduate and advanced degrees awarded, as well as in business ownership. As a result, the role of women will be pivotal in shaping the global economy over the next several decades.
The empowerment of women entrepreneurs worldwide is a significant enabler for economic growth. It will not only contribute to the progress of each country’s economy but also the well-being of their respective societies. According to a 2014 report by the World Bank, women entrepreneurs in developing countries are twice as likely as men to hire employees and three times more likely to reinvest profits into their business. They are also more willing than men to compete with imports on quality and lower costs on price.
It is empowering women for sustainable growth for the communities through economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs and lending institutions. Peru was chosen as the first country to be part of this financial program called Global Women’s Entrepreneur Finance (GWEF) because of its growing challenges in providing equal opportunities for women striving to get into entrepreneurship. Peru has one of the highest rates of female entrepreneurship rate in Latin America, However; it is still challenging to promote women’s entrepreneurship because of the lack of access to resources, technology and capital.
Entrepreneurial loan options for women
“The Global Women’s Entrepreneur Finance (GWEF), a program launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and supported by other international partners, has brought together lenders and financial institutions to provide low interest loans for female entrepreneurs.” These women need capital to start their own businesses ,which will help them generate income and improve the living standard of their families. The best way to consider this is as industrialization projects since they are meant to provide security and stability and increase the growth in economies.
“The Women’s Business Technology Management: Leveraging Women’s Technology to Empower Women Entrepreneurs” is an initiative by the United States government which encourages to empower women in technology and advance of female entrepreneurs. It was created with the aim of empowering women in technology and advancing their success to improve global economies.
In the past five years, we have seen an increase in women running companies. Between 2012 and 2015, the number of female-owned companies increased by 120%, according to a report by RBC Wealth Management. There has been a shift towards women becoming entrepreneurs in distinct areas. In 2014, 15% of all startups were started by women – accounting for almost 9% of all US companies that year.
Small business loans:
The Small Business Association (SBA) and their Guaranteed Loan Program offer guaranteed loans for women entrepreneurs. SBA loans are made by private banks and can be used for almost any business purpose, including working capital, real estate financing, equipment leasing, cash flow, or credit line advances.
“The Women’s Business Summit is the premier annual event for women in business and technology. Attendees engage with 500+ senior-level business executives and 400+ investors while learning from some of the most influential thought leaders in the world”. This summit is specifically designed to increase access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
Commercial business loan:
“A business loan is an especially attractive source of funding for female entrepreneurs because of the high proportion of women entrepreneurs in the UK.” There are several commercial banks offering loans to women business owners. However, the risks associated with these loans are similar to those of any other small business owner. “While government loan schemes are available, they attract a very low-interest rate and have stringent conditions such as a minimum time in business before applying.” Banks offer deals with very competitive rates for a short-term loan, which include low interest rates.
Loan schemes that women can consider
“The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the EU owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.” Within the EIB’s mandate, it will support Research and Development projects and provide loans to businesses within Europe.
Mudra loan scheme for women: “Mudra is a Small Business Loan Scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY). PMMY is a flagship programme of Government of India, which provides fund to micro, small and medium enterprises in India”. The purpose of this microcredit program is to “empower women entrepreneurs by enabling them to start or expand their businesses in a sustainable way”. This program was created for the financial empowerment of women entrepreneurs.
Annapurna scheme: “The Annapurna Scheme is a special scheme for the financial assistance to SC/ST Women for setting up Self-Employment ventures“. The purpose of this program was to: “Women’s self-employment and entrepreneurship are catalysts for economic transformation. Boosting women’s entrepreneurship, therefore, becomes the critical to inclusive growth.” The Annapurna Scheme was established by the Government of India to help women in poverty start their business.
Dena Shakti scheme: “The scheme is aimed at creating wealth in rural areas and improving the financial status of women in rural areas by providing them financial facilities to start small or medium enterprises”. The government of India created this scheme for the financial empowerment of women. “The objective behind the scheme is to help girls, women and the weaker sections of our society to participate in economic development and contribute towards national growth.” This program helps women give entrepreneurship their best shot.
The Cent Kalyani Yojana: “The Cent Kalyani Yojana is a flagship project of the Government of India, The objective behind the scheme is to provide financial facilities on an easy, affordable and sustainable basis to women entrepreneurs in the general regions of North East India”. This program gives women the tools they need to build a successful business.
Women in Business (WIB): “The Women in Business (WIB) programme serves as a framework to enhance women’s representation in decision-making positions at the local level, and it seeks to advance their active participation in the national economy.” The WIB Project is an initiative created by the Government of Rwanda for women entrepreneurs. This sustainbale project is meant to help improve women’s representation across key sectors within Rwanda’s economy.
Women’s business centres:
Women’s Business Centers provide training and networking opportunities to help female entrepreneurs succeed. Women’s Business Centers also offer professional development courses and assistance in developing business plans. Women’s Business Centers are found across the U.S..
“The public sector has a vital role to play in the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship and their economic empowerment. The public sector can provide the enabling environment, infrastructure and supporting services, as well as directly targeting resources and incentives towards serving women entrepreneurs.” The government aids women entrepreneurs by providing tax credits, grants, loan programs and other incentives.
Women’s Impact on the Economy
In today’s economy, finding capital for small businesses is hard. As many people are starting to set up their own businesses, there are too many entrepreneurs for not enough business loans. For women entrepreneurs to compete with other companies and get the funding they need, both men and women have to support them in any way possible. Women have been able to stabilize the economy over the past years because they work hard to provide support for their families.
In the past, women have been viewed as single contributors to the economy. However, it is proven that women give back and contribute more than they take. Studies show that in societies where there are a more significant number of female entrepreneurs, the economy is better off. For example, in countries like India and Rwanda, where more women have businesses than men, their economies perform better than others.
Women in the workforce
Women are still fighting for and keeping a job in the job market. There are more opportunities for women today than ever but women are still far from having equal rights to men in the workforce. “We must take stock of where we stand, look at where we have come from and make sure that those who are at the margins do not permanently stay there.” More than 65% of working-age women in Italy don’t work.
Work and Family
Women are expected to take on the roles of working mother and housewife. “It is time, therefore, that we reclaim the term ‘working woman’ so as to render it less emotionally loaded than ‘poor woman’.” The work-family balance is non-existent for women in modern society. “The double burden of demanding careers and motherhood remains one of the most pressing challenges facing India.”
Working women face many challenges, most notably the conflict between the husband and wife and the children. 59% of working women in Italy are harassed daily, in the office or at home because of their profession.
Women’s work and technology are still not recognized as valid; for modernity, for example, Women have to overcome many obstacles, such a lack of equal opportunities in public life. For example, there is no equality regarding job opportunities for women, ranging from all economically active sectors to all educational levels.
Women and entrepreneurship
Women are entering the workforce in droves, looking for new businesses to start. In many countries, women make up more than half of the population and are beginning to be seen as a power in the business world. However, it is widely accepted that men still have a more significant role in decision-making. This can be seen in both privately and publicly owned businesses. For example, a survey by Catalyst found that men, on average, hold between 70% to 75% of all leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies, but women hold 10% or less.
Women’s entrepreneurship is increasing in Croatia, and the UK, but in many other countries, the percentage of female entrepreneurs is still low. For example, 13% of tech startups in Europe are run by women and only 8% of the general workforce are women.
Women’s Foreign Policy
Women’s foreign policy is not only about gender equality; it is a tool for advancing women’s rights and gender justice. Women’s foreign policy is crucial to advancing women’s human rights in general. For example, the international community made gender equality an explicit condition of peace talks with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Gender issues were also raised in negotiations between Iran and the European Union. The African Union has made using gender as a tool of foreign affairs one of its top priorities.
Women in politics
Women’s participation in the workforce is a significant issue for women around the world. Although women are becoming more involved in the force, there is still gender bias and discrimination in employment. “While women have made enormous strides over the last three decades, they have yet to catch up with their male counterparts.” Women are still underrepresented at all levels of government. For example, only 23% of members of Parliament are female.
“Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.” Women share many common goals, However, there also exist differences between them. While women have the same ideals of equality and empowerment, they also have very different approaches to achieving these goals. This begs the question: why are there differences in their policies?
Women come from different sectors of the economy, including finance, business and education. Their monetary power is significant because it influences their ability to effect change in society. Mainstream media and economic policies are controlled by women.
To secure a lasting peace, efforts must be made to improve women’s working conditions, the most fundamental of which is access to decent employment. For women to be able to support themselves and their families, they must be able to work. However, women are still expected to perform more than one role simultaneously. Women must not be seen as only a housewife or only as a worker but rather as two people in one.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma