Numbers don’t lie. Women are a minority in the startup world. But things are changing. More and more people are investing in women. In fact, some of the most successful startup companies have female founders such as Canva and Matcha Maiden.
The challenge is sustaining this wave of change, keeping the conversation going, and making sure that it simply won’t be a conversation but a series of actions that will change the entrepreneurial landscape. A recent study showed female-led business have only grown by 3% over the past 20 years. It is not the kind of statistic that will encourage women.
While 30% of businesses in the world are owned by women (34% in Australia), we still have a long way to go to achieve the balance we are aiming for. We sat with Isaac Coonan, Director for REACH Australia, to discuss the state of women entrepreneurship and how we can empower more women to start their own businesses.
You have to come out of your shell and leave your comfort zone. You need to pitch your business to investors. Speak up and share your ideas with confidence. As female leaders, we need to empower women to participate in male-dominant entrepreneurial events so that the following year, the narrative changes. The event isn’t for males anymore but for female entrepreneurs as well.
Know Your Tribe
Connect with other entrepreneurs. Seek mentorship from experienced female startup founders. You have to know your community and engage them. Most female entrepreneurs feel lost and alone because they don’t know who to ask and how to proceed. It’s very important that you know your tribe. They are the like-minded people you need in your journey as an entrepreneur.
Own the Statistic
Things should not end with just knowing that there are less female-led businesses in the market. We should do something about it. If you are at that stage in your business where you can afford to gather women and create entrepreneurial events targeted for women, then do it. Take someone under your wing and mentor her so she can pay it forward later on.
Increase Awareness for Inclusiveness
While we can do whatever we can in our spheres of influence, we can also advocate for systemic change in our government and in big corporations. We should find a way to slowly change the entire ecosystem to make it more inclusive. We also need a mind shift in the way investors look at entrepreneurs—not based on gender, race, or religion but based on skills and ingenuity of ideas.
A lot of people still think that entrepreneurship is a man’s world. But that is absolutely not true. More and more women are stepping out of their comfort zones and starting their own businesses. We need to keep encouraging other women to pursue their startup dreams and empower them to speak up. We need to increase our tribes so that female entrepreneurs find kindred spirits who will support them in their journey.
Spend less time caught up in the clutter and more focusing on what is truly important.