Following on from my last post, why don’t we see more female entrepreneurs?
During my time with Spark I’ve always tried to search for female entrepreneurs to profile or get involve in the programme (to act as inspiration for our female participants). The problem is I always found myself stretched trying to think of who I could get simply because they are 1: there aren’t as many prominent female entrepreneurs compared to male entrepreneurs and/or 2: they are not profiled else where enough. Just looking through E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards NZ hall of fame – 1 out of 13 winners was a woman.
Here are some that I could think of at the time:
- Melissa Clark Reynolds from MiniMonos
- Katherine Corich from SYSDOC
- Wildfire’s Victoria Ransom
- Trilogy’s Sarah Gibbs and Catherine de Groot
- Annah Stretton
- Trelise Cooper
- Linda Jenkinson of LesConcierges Inc
- Diane Foreman of Emerald Group.
Once again this is not just a NZ phenomenon. Its global and is a topic of much discussion of late (e.g.http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/28/women-in-tech-stop-blaming-me/). Down the bottom I have a few articles i have come across which talk on the topic that you can refer too. But I’ve tried to distil some of the key points below as well.
Females in start-ups
- there are more women getting degrees and more women in the workforce but the tech industry is dominated by men in the US.
- 40% of US private businesses are owned by women. 35% of startups. 25% of US companies, 8 percent of the venture-backed tech start-ups
- Women running venture backed businesses use 40% less capital and make 12% more revenue than men. However there does appear to be data that contradicts this (e.g. http://www.inc.com/magazine/19860701/4433.html).
- Number of female owned firms is growing twice as fast as all the rest
- Share 35.3% of total entrepreneurial activity in US
- Women fail less often
- Gender diversity improves long-term returns.
Reasons why they aren’t starting up
- old boy networks – most VCs are men
- different motives and different goals come different ways of managing a business between sexes
- “A lot of women suffer from a vision that’s too small”
- “The problem isn’t that Silicon Valley is keeping women down, or not doing enough to encourage female entrepreneurs. The opposite is true. No, the problem is that not enough women want to become entrepreneurs.”
- what do women venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and founders think is the reason why there are so few women starting high tech companies? women don’t ask for money, women undersell themselves, Men dream big and propose businesses in the largest markets; women think much smaller, men push to get much more for free, would-be founders catch the entrepreneurial bug at about the same age women think about starting a family, lack of respect from men in senior positions, motherhood,
- The study shows that women’s obstacles to innovative entrepreneurship are of 3 types: a) Contextual obstacles: educational choices, traditional views and stereotypes about women, science and innovation. b) Economic obstacles: innovation sector requiring substantial investment and women being seen less credible financially than men c) Soft obstacles: lack of access to technical scientific and general business networks, lack of business training, role models and entrepreneurship skills (REF).
- a macho fratty environment that is the start-up image
How can we get more?
- get more women speakers at conferences, women centric networking events, reform how we teach tech at schools.
- invite more women to join advisory boards of high tech companies, provide education and networks for high-growth women entrepreneurs. e.g.http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/05/women-labs-entrepreneurship-founder/, http://www.women2.org/women2-startup-weekend-2011-san-francisco-announcement/
- increase visibility of women entrepreneurs/ inventors to younger generations.
- get them to learn more about start-ups.
- change the image of start-ups to one that appeals to females.
LINKS & REFS
Graeme @ graemefielder.com