Starting a Business for a Woman: How is the Fact? – Across the globe, women are starting businesses in record numbers. In the United States, for example, women own 9.1 million firms, or 38 percent of all U.S. companies. From 1987 to 1999, the number of woman-owned firms in the United States increased by 103 percent; employment by female companies rose 320 percent; and, even more astounding, sales grew by 436 percent.
Female-owned businesses in the United States generate more than $3.6 trillion in annual sales, and female entrepreneurs employ more people than the entire Fortune 500.
Although the United States may be the most reported example of the rise of female entrepreneurs within the industrialized world, woman-owned businesses are on the rise everywhere.
In eastern Germany, women have created a third of the new enterprises since reunification in 1990, providing 1 million new jobs and contributing U.S. $15 billion to the German gross national product. Female entrepreneurs in other transition economies, like Russia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland, are making a similar impact.
In Latin America, according to the World Bank, fully half of all economic growth in the last decade throughout the region is attributable to the creativity and hard work of female entrepreneurs.
In South Asia, women now outnumber men as business owners. And in Southeast Asia femaleowned businesses have been at the forefront of that region’s economic turnaround since the “Asian flu” arrived in 1997. xii Introduction Clearly, the growth of female enterprises is good for economies.
What may be less evident, though, is that the rise of female entrepreneurs also benefits societies and women themselves. Those who desire to see the conditions for women improve all over the world have discovered the incomparable value of nurturing and cultivating female entrepreneurship.
The benefits derived when women start and operate their own businesses are truly remarkable: increased selfesteem, quality of life, and life expectancy as well as reduced infant mortality, incidences of AIDS and other diseases, and domestic violence. This book provides an examination of the fundamental issues facing female entrepreneurship from a global perspective.
Divided into three separate sections, the book looks at the major areas of study concerning women business owners today: the global trend of female entrepreneurship; the characteristics and motivations of the women who start their own enterprises; and the processes women undertake to start their own businesses.
The book concludes with ways that organizations—private, public, and governmental—can effectively support female entrepreneurship and continuously monitor and evaluate their efforts.
In Part I, “The Trend,” we seek to provide the reader with the global perspective to recognize the unstoppable rising tide of female entrepreneurship around the world. Chapter 1, “The Rise of Female Entrepreneurs,” addresses the exponential growth in woman-owned businesses in developed and developing countries.
Underscored is the fact that the tremendous rise of female entrepreneurship is one of the most significant economic and social developments in the world. In the developing world, woman-owned “micro-enterprises” have begun to attract much attention as well.
Charitable and nonprofit organizations working at the grassroots have found that investing in female entrepreneurs offers the most effective means to improve health, nutrition, hygiene, and educational standards for women and their children.
Chapter 2, “Women and Globalization,” explores the impact of the expansion of the global economy on women. It goes without saying that globalization is probably shaping the future of all human beings more than any other single force at work in the world today. For this reason, the chapter undertakes an analysis of globalization as it relates to the hopes and dreams of female entrepreneurs.
Chapter 3, “The Empowerment of Women,” investigates the definition of this much-used term within the context of woman-owned businesses.
Part II, “The Participants,” focuses on female enterprises by looking at the characteristics of the women who start them and addressing their primary motivations.
Chapter 4, “Women As Business Owners,” looks at how fostering the participation of women entrepreneurs strengthens economies and can be a source of political, economic, and social innovation.
Women business owners, in comparison with their male counterparts, often have different demands on their time and different ways of seeing things and may be newer to the market.
They therefore do business differently from men and, consequently, constitute a real potential source of innovation in management style, company structure, services rendered to the community, and the use of technology, among other things.
Clearly, no single factor inspires a woman to build her own company. Her reasons depend on several personal and external circumstances, both positive and negative. Chapters 5, 6, and 7 explore women’s primary and most deep-seated motivations for starting and running their own businesses: economic, social, and personal.
In Part III, “The Processes,” we begin with the premise that women often establish businesses for different reasons than men do. And they typically start businesses in different markets and with different business structures.
Chapter 8, “Challenges Faced by Female Entrepreneurs,” explores the fundamental distinctions between female entrepreneurs and their male counterparts and delves into several issues that are unique to female startups.
Chapter 9, “Tools and Processes for Helping Female Entrepreneurs,” furnishes evaluative tools for a woman seeking to start her own business. Such an assessment enables the prospective woman business owner to better discern the sources of assistance at her disposal. Chapter 10, “Locating and
Evaluating Potential Help Givers,” prepares the potential female entrepreneur to determine which help givers to engage and how to best approach them.
Chapter 11 looks at female entrepreneuership from the perspective of those organizations dedicated to supporting female-owned enterprises.
Further, it details a scheme to provide donors, project managers, and policy analysts with the tools needed for assessing the available entry strategies and metrics for conducting ongoing analysis of project effectiveness. It is a road map for those entities looking to maximize the effectiveness of their programs and projects.
As a result, they can put into place effective monitoring and evaluation metrics. The appendixes furnish the reader with the most comprehensive global resource guide for anyone interested in learning more about female entrepreneurs and woman-owned businesses.
We admit wholeheartedly that each of these topics could themselves warrant its own book or even series of books. Moreover, we recognize that some important issues may be too lightly touched on or not discussed at all.
Our intent here is simply to inspire constructive dialogue and energetic action on female entrepreneurship around the world. If anything is clear, it is that the number of female-owned businesses will do nothing but increase worldwide in the coming years.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon everyone involved with female entrepreneurs to better understand the trend, the participants, the processes, and the helpers in this most important phenomenon.
As Lucite Moot said some 150 years ago: Let women then go on—not asking favors, but claiming as a right the removal of all hindrances to her elevation in the scale of being—let her receive the encouragement for the proper cultivation of all her powers, so that she may enter profitably into the active business of life.