You have read the statistics from the USA and the UK in our earlier blogs.
Is this happening in Ireland as-well?
Research emphasizes that access to training and a supportive structure are key elements in successful enterprise supports for women. In female business failure, the three most commonly cited causes are: lack of proper financing, lack of prior experience, and lack of training.
In Ireland, we seem to have relatively low numbers of women engaging in entrepreneurial activities.
In 2010, nearly 800 women per month started their own business versus approximately 1,650 men.
Women are the largest under- represented group when it comes to enterprise: less than 18% of established entrepreneurs are women.
In 2010 the rate among women involved in early state entrepreneurial activity was 3.9% compared to 9.5% for men. This means that men are nearly two and a half times more likely to be an early stage entrepreneur.
Self-selection is another issue that has prevented women from upskilling. Studies have shown that women are less likely to perceive themselves as entrepreneurs than are men and therefore will steer away from courses designed for ‘entrepreneurs.’
Pressures from family life, a lack of high profile role models and a lower perception by women that they have the skills to set up a business are other factors that have discouraged women from starting their own businesses.
But the times they are a changing
Women entrepreneurs are highly educated. GEM research found that 86% of women early stage entrepreneurs have post secondary education as compared to 74% of male early stage entrepreneurs.
And it’s recgonised that women are increasingly making crucial contributions to the economy. In the US, for example, women are the majority owners in 50% of privately owned firms. These businesses produce $1.9 trillion in turnover, employ 12.8 million employees and grow at twice the rate of all US firms. The mobilisation of additional women into entrepreneurship would add jobs and growth to our domestic economies and make significant contributions towards economic recovery.
The challenges we have to overcome…together
We have to lay the groundwork now. First to support the development of more women in business and second to make sure that smallbusinesscan.com is a pioneering and supportive organization as and when the transformation happens. No more can ‘man’!
We are putting our shoulder to the wheel. We are taking the initiative online, above the line and off line. We have created a dedicated online information and engagement platform where women can meet, collaborate, share, give help and ask for help with other women running businesses. (Men are invited as-well). This will have articles, tools, templates and events that are of interest to women and women networks
We are appointing external ambassadors. These are women and indeed male led businesses with leaders that have a track record of helping other businesses with shared learning and experiences. These businesspeople are the future architects of this initiative and we are committed to supporting them and others as they put in place even more supports for their peers, especially women, who want to share the challenges and learning of starting and running a business.
We are also working closely with Ulster Bank. It has committed to training internal ambassadors that are being equipped to know and understand particular issues relating to women running businesses. They are being trained and accredited (through courses that smallbusinesscan is designing) and have to undergo continuous personal professional development.
The bank has also created a specific category in its all island Business Achievers awards. This is the first time that such a high profile programme will have a very public gender bias.
We have a lot done. We have a lot more to do. As usual we are looking for your help. If there’s anything more we should be doing to support this initiative let us know.