It Pays to be Bold as a Female Founder
by Annette Kimmitt for the Sydney Morning Herald
All around the world, female entrepreneurs play an essential role in creating sustainable economic growth. According to the IMF, more than 126 million women own and operate businesses, nearly half of them in developing markets, and the United Nations estimates the Asia-Pacific region could grow by as much as US$89 billion annually if women achieved their full economic potential.
The economic potential is huge, yet research consistently shows that, despite robust growth in the early stages, women-owned companies don’t always scale as high or as fast as they could.
One of the largest challenges for any entrepreneur is accessing capital to fund their growth plans, and this is exacerbated for women. Expanding into new markets, developing new products, hiring the right people, and investing in the right systems all take money. The best business plan in the world isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if there’s no investment to support it.
Research shows women lack access to capital much more so than men. In fact, even though women launch nearly half of new businesses, they receive less than 10 per cent of venture capital or angel funding. The good news is that the outlook is changing. The finance world has recognized the value in supporting women, which has led to growing support for financing women-led businesses in both traditional sources of capital, specialist angel investors, and even areas such as crowd-funding.
Since 2012, women-led businesses have seen significantly increased support from both angel investors (up 40 per cent from 2011 to 2012) and venture capital deals (up 20 per cent in the same timeframe). So how can women entrepreneurs access that capital? It starts with thinking big and being bold.
As any educator can tell you, expectations and achievement go hand in hand – the higher your expectations for yourself, the more you are likely to achieve. The same goes for female entrepreneurs.
Successful female entrepreneurs have the confidence to push boundaries to recognise the full potential of their companies. They have the desire to innovate, a willingness to take calculated risks, a knack for turning adversity into opportunity and an ability to see possibilities where others may not.
EY research on seven years’ worth of participants in our North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women program shows women who have been most successful have been bold in setting their goals and it has
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