Written by Rami Cassis
Women who are considering becoming entrepreneurs need to embrace risk and launch their businesses with confidence knowing they are often more successful than their male counterparts.
This is a gross generalisation but I see many mediocre men come across as self-assured and more confident than many talented women with a clear vision. Many businesswomen (rightly) favour substance over style but that can come across as a lack of self-conviction when dealing with situations where not all the facts are known – like seeking investment to back a business plan. Some of the gender stereotypes find their way into reality when pitching for investment; men are more likely to exaggerate and embrace risk whereas women will come across as less ambitious (actually more considered) and more conservative.
Just 1p in every £1 goes to female led start-ups, according to recent research by the British Business Bank on behalf of the Treasury, with 89% of start-up capital being invested in companies with all-male founders. Figures in other parts of the world are presumably not much better.
I am also not sure it makes sense to attempt to change the business environment to “accommodate” women. Frankly am not sure what that would mean and, in any event, no change will come quickly enough to make a meaningful difference.
Yes, we can focus on the lack of available support networks and mentorship programmes but it’s actually the way many female leaders approach fundraising and dealing with uncertainty that needs to change.
The other thing to note is that technology, a major sector for start-ups, remains very heavily male dominated. Women account for just 14.4 percent of the workforce in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occupations.
Nonetheless the environment for female entrepreneurs is improving as there’s been a 40% increase in UK economic contribution and a 26% increase in employment generated by female-led businesses since 2012.
In the US, a recent study of over 350 start-ups founded by women revealed they delivered higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested—than those founded by men, making female-owned companies better investments for financial backers.