Did you know that 42% of U.S. companies are owned by women? With nearly 13 million women-led businesses, they are making their mark on the entrepreneurial scene, claiming ownership of four out of every ten enterprises. Despite being the driving force behind numerous small businesses, there is still a need for support systems that foster an inclusive ecosystem so women entrepreneurs can continue to thrive and succeed.
Encouraging an Inclusive Ecosystem
Creating a supportive ecosystem for female entrepreneurs has many benefits – not only for them but also for society as a whole. It encourages more women to start their own businesses, which leads to job creation and economic growth. This can also result in gender equality in corporate leadership positions, essential for creating an equitable and diverse workplace culture. Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives transforms professional relationships for the better, nurtures a solid team spirit, and cultivates a culture of teamwork.
Having more female-led businesses helps break down stereotypes about what “women’s work” looks like, paving the way for even more innovation and progress in entrepreneurship fields traditionally dominated by men. Women-focused entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) not only help individual women entrepreneurs, but they also play a role in creating an inclusive ecosystem where everyone is welcome regardless of gender or background.
Facing Challenges Head-On
Women in the entrepreneurial world are making waves and defying norms on a global scale, but there’s still a gap between them and their male peers – a testament to the unique challenges females face. The pandemic continues to disproportionately affect women, including challenges securing funds, forging a network of connections, and acquiring essential resources.
To combat this unbalanced playing field, there are entrepreneurial support organizations that provide access to mentors who have been through the startup process and understand the challenges of running a business as a woman. Organizations like the Association of Women’s Business Centers, Washington Center for Women in Business and InnovateHer KC offer increased accessibility for women to training programs on different aspects of commerce, such as financial management, marketing strategies, and networking opportunities. Additionally, they provide capital funding, which is often hard to secure for women-run businesses.
Rewriting the Rules for Moms in Business
Despite progressive advancements, the traditional expectation of women to focus solely on domestic tasks like homemaking and child-rearing continues to pose unique challenges for women entrepreneurs striving for an elusive work-life balance.
Currently, 18% of U.S. parents identify as stay-at-home parents, with women making up the majority. The secret sauce of juggling work and home responsibilities boils down to one vital factor – social support. While some women find harmony with the helping hands of friends and family, others struggle under the sheer weight of their commitments.
It’s time for companies to promote gender equality and recognize the realities women face in pursuit of a balanced life. Meeting the expectations and requirements of both roles can be an overwhelming and emotionally taxing experience for many women. Fortunately, mothers can draw strength from a wealth of resources designed to aid them in overcoming these obstacles.
Support networks, professional childcare facilities, and parental leave policies provide invaluable assistance and create a nurturing environment where women can successfully manage their dual roles. A great example is SourceLink Nebraska, which provides guides with helpful information concerning daycare and other topics to help entrepreneurs connect with essential resources to help them succeed.
By tapping into these resources, female entrepreneurs can alleviate some of the stress and difficulties associated with balancing the intricacies of motherhood and entrepreneurship, allowing them to focus on building, sustaining, and scaling their businesses without sacrificing their vital roles as caregivers.
Conquering Obstacles as a Minority Woman Entrepreneur
Starting any business is a daunting task, but for minority women entrepreneurs, the challenge is even greater. From financial inequality to systemic racism and sexism, minority women face more obstacles than their white counterparts when entering the business world.
Minority women entrepreneurs experience both implicit and explicit forms of discrimination ranging from lack of access to capital to outright prejudice in the workplace. Before 2021, only 93 Black female founders had obtained over $1 million in funding for their ventures. While this statistic has tripled since 2018, there is still a long way to go.
These discriminatory disparities can make it difficult for minority women entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground. That’s why addressing ingrained societal challenges through institutions like the Washington State Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises is vital to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to thrive. The organization is the sole agency in the state that certifies minority and women-owned business enterprises to participate in public contracting and procurement. Another skill development partner, the Refugee Arts Initiative, works with refugee and immigrant women to foster an inclusive, prosperous transition to the US through artisan skills training and micro business development.
Amplifying Capital Needs
The 2021/2022 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Women’s Entrepreneurship Report shines a light on promising trends addressing concerns surrounding gender inequality in the entrepreneurial landscape. Women make up one-third of high-potential entrepreneurs, reinforcing the need for policies to boost financing and other assistance in industries where women are making their mark.
A growing emphasis on women’s angel investment groups, gender-smart impact investing, women-centric investment firms, incubators, and accelerators create supportive environments for female founders to triumph. For example, Evergreen BizLink connects female entrepreneurs to a network of resource partners that foster innovation, growth, and prosperity. Tackling network barriers and increasing investment capital for innovation in women’s markets are two more ways that the gap is narrowing.
Ready to Support?
To evaluate the level of support for female-owned businesses in your community, it’s essential to consider factors contributing to their success and inclusivity, including the availability of resources and networking opportunities, access to funding and loans, and the presence of women-focused organizations advocating for equal opportunities in the business realm. Assessing these aspects helps to determine if your community actively nurtures the growth and development of businesses helmed by female entrepreneurs.
At SourceLink, we offer further resources and support to ensure equal opportunities and a robust business environment for all. Contact us at [email protected] to learn how we can help you create an entrepreneurship ecosystem that serves the needs of anyone aspiring to start or grow their business.