The number of women-owned businesses in the country is growing faster than ever. This is great news! New businesses create new jobs and boost our local economy. However, women entrepreneurs face unique challenges which often result from gender bias or perception. Here are three of the common challenges women face when owning a business:
- Women Entrepreneurs Have a Tougher Time Getting Funding
Women are increasingly finding ways to become self-employed but are facing challenges acquiring funding. Access to capital is vital to any small business’ growth. But women entrepreneurs are faced with larger obstacles than their male counterparts when it comes to venture capital and borrowing from financial institutions. The good news is there are more alternative funding sources available for business owners looking for smaller loan amounts to help launch or grow their companies. Kiva is one such alternative platform that offers 0% interest micro loans that can help women expand and fund their business ideas and establish their business credit score. Learn more about Kiva US Loans.
2. Limited Access to Mentors and Industry Networks
Mentorship and networking play a significant role in the success of business owners in particular for women who are just starting their entrepreneurial journeys. Women entrepreneurs can learn the rules of the game from experienced mentors, as well as build and foster critical business connections. But, even with the rapidly growing number of female business owners, connecting with fellow entrepreneurs isn’t always easy.
Many networks are still male dominated and often tight-knit clubs that are hard, or costly to get into, especially for women. Fortunately, there are online communities like Ellevate Network and MicroMentor.org that help entrepreneurs, and experienced professionals work together to invest in women to help reach personal and business growth.
Southwest Florida women and leaders can also become involved with ElevateHer SWFL an initiative which provides a platform for Southwest Florida professionals to network, learn about issues impacting women and girls, and effect change in their community.
3. The Fear of Failure
According to Babson College’s 2014 Global Entrepreneur Monitor – USA Report the fear of failure is the primary concern of women who are starting their business. Fear of failure is a concern for both genders, but it’s higher for female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts. Women business owners tend to have lower perceptions of their entrepreneur abilities than male business owners and these perceptions often prevents or hinders women from starting or growing a business.
Ladies, You Got This!
Here’s some good news to help overcome the fear of failure: More women than men are starting businesses in consumer products and services that are highly saturated and require constant innovation to grow. Women are outperforming male counterparts in innovation, are better-calculated risk takers, less prone to overconfidence, and are more likely to take the long-term view. Women might need to work harder to access capital or join private professional networks, but once they are in, they tend to be great networkers.
Helping women-owned businesses overcome challenges goes beyond the need for gender equality. Female entrepreneurs have great potential to affect the growth of the economy. Therefore, it’s good business sense to support and aid women entrepreneurs for overall benefit to the economy.
Are you a women entrepreneur? What are some of the obstacles you face daily?