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 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?[/cmsms_text][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]
Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want ♫
The internet is going crazy with this video created by the Global Goals for Sustainable Development designed to push for change towards the most common inequalities encountered by women and girls. We’re channeling our inner 90’s teen and dancing to our favorite Spice Girls songs to join the cause. We share the same goals of creating:
What do you want for SWFL girls and women? Share your photo with a sign or tell us on social media using the hashtags #WhatIreallyWant #FundWomenFL
Need some inspiration? Visit the http://www.globalgoals.org/ to see how others are advocating for change!
If you’re following us on social media, you probably heard us talk about the United States of Women, a summit held on June 15th, and convened by the White to address key gender equality issues. The event was both a celebration, as well as a real reminder that there is still a lot of work left to ensure gender parity for women. Six pillars or topics were addressed during the summit. These were:
We absolutely loved seeing Mikaila Ulmer, Founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade introducing president Obama. She remained completely calm while addressing the crowd, saying that introducing the president in front of an audience of 5,000 attendees was “no big deal” since she had addressed a crowd of over 11,000 the week before. Did we mention Mikaila is only eleven? Her confidence and poise is something most adults wish they could have! Mikaila gave some advice for hopeful entrepreneurs and her message was loud and clear. See what she had to say below[/cmsms_text][cmsms_image align=”right” link=”http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/mikailajpg.jpg” lightbox=”true” animation_delay=”0″]6123|http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/mikailajpg-1024×536.jpg|large[/cmsms_image][cmsms_text animation_delay=”0″]
“We can’t just pass laws, we must change our culture”
This was the key takeaway from Vice President’s Joe Biden’s speech. He spoke with passion about his decades of commitment to the Violence Against Women Act, about rape culture, sexual assault in American institutions, and the need to fight against the norms that turn a blind eye to the abuse, and degradation of women.[/cmsms_text][cmsms_image align=”right” link=”http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Joe-Biden.jpg” lightbox=”true” animation_delay=”0″]6127|http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Joe-Biden-1024×536.jpg|large[/cmsms_image][cmsms_text animation_delay=”0″]
The conversation between Oprah Winfrey and First Lady Michelle Obama as definitely a crowd favorite.
They talked about the importance of knowing yourself, having self-worth, and understanding your value.
“Our first job in life as women is to get to know ourselves,”. “It takes taking the time to know who you are to be able to deal with the onslaught of negative messages you’re bound to get.”
Said the First Lady, who followed with advice on how to get what your worth at work by never settling, and stating your needs and expectations clearly. She also had some words for the audience about selecting friends and company wisely:[/cmsms_text][cmsms_image align=”right” link=”http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Obama-V.2.jpg” lightbox=”true” animation_delay=”0″]6131|http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Obama-V.2-1024×536.jpg|large[/cmsms_image][cmsms_text animation_delay=”0″]
Interested in learning more about the summit? See a full recap of the event HERE and join the #stateofwomen and be a part of the movement. Use the pledge generator HERE to declare how you’ll help change tomorrow, today.[/cmsms_text][cmsms_image align=”right” link=”http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cultural-change.jpg” lightbox=”true” animation_delay=”0″]6134|http://fundwomenfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/cultural-change-1024×536.jpg|large[/cmsms_image][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]
Women controlled businesses and companies with women on the executive board receive only 7% of venture funding. Since women don’t get as much funding to keep their businesses going, they tend to use personal credit cards and high interest loans which can negatively impact their credit and affect their ability to secure better loans.
Getting more women to invest is a way to solve this problem. U.S. women exercise decision-making control over $11.2 trillion. That’s a whopping 39% of the nation’s estimated $28.6 trillion in assets that can be invested. And nearly half of that amount—$5.1 trillion—is managed solely by women. That’s a huge amount that women can use to invest in other women.[/cmsms_text][cmsms_text animation_delay=”0″]
Companies with women in high leadership positions experience stronger profits according to a recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. But not only do women help improve the bottom line of businesses, women also improve firms’ social performance and social responsibility. The improvements women bring to companies could be attributed to the differences in terms of perspective, education and style of conduct.[/cmsms_text][cmsms_text animation_delay=”0″]
According to research by First Round Capital, the values of businesses with at least one female founder performed 63% better than companies with all-male founders. Businesses with women in executive positions did better in challenging markets than those with all-male executive boards. Not only did companies led by women bring in more revenue than all male-owned companies, they were also shown to have a higher likelihood of overall success.
We need to encourage and reach out to the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators to make a lasting impact and improve future opportunities for women. Programs such as KIVA ZIP allow Southwest Florida female entrepreneurs to secure business funding and support, while removing the risk of high-interest rates and payment terms. Are you interested in learning more? Check out THIS page for more information[/cmsms_text][/cmsms_column][/cmsms_row]
Throughout the last decade Twitter has become critical in leading social activism driving change in the world in remarkable ways. Twitter introduced and popularized the use of # hashtags. As activist started using hashtags to group their messages, they soon became known as “hashtivists”.
The boost in awareness and the way feminism is discussed today is largely influenced by the use of hashtags, and the large, open platform provided by Twitter and other social media networks. Worldwide, users have embraced social media to spread their message and advocate for action. In the process, they have built a large following who in-turn empowered other women to engage and speak about the issues that matter most to them.
Unfortunately, some people demonize feminists and feminism. But the movement has persisted and the activists have addressed issues such as rape, beauty standards, desexualizing women’s bodies, fighting sexism, empowering female entrepreneurship and advocating for equality.