Who runs the world? Beyonce said ‘Girls’ do – well, they’re getting there.
Approximately 126 million women were starting or running new businesses in 67 economies around the world in 2012, while another 98 million were running established businesses.
The latest women’s report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor stresses the contributions of women to the global economy. According to the report, few human resources are as underutilised as women. “If women are not actively engaged as entrepreneurs, the job creation capacity of half the world’s population is lost,” the report said.
Entrepreneurship was found to be popular among women of all ages. Rates of entrepreneurship among young women, aged 18 to 34, are the same as or similar to participation among the older population.
Despite these rates, women were found to have lower perceptions of their own capabilities than men in every economy surveyed. At 73 per cent, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of perceived capabilities among women, while Developed Asia has the lowest regional average with just 16 per cent.
On average, women were also found to have a greater level of fear of failure than men.
The report highlighted that consumer-oriented business activity dominates women’s entrepreneurship, while men are more typically engaged in industries that rely on capital and knowledge.
Though female entrepreneurs in the US and Europe are well educated, they are less likely to believe in their own capabilities than both men in the same area and women in other regions. This may be due to a “mismatch” between their levels of confidence and education, or lack of business training and resources.
The report highlights the need for an increase in the aspirations of women entrepreneurs around the world to grow their business – the difference in growth projections between men and women is 7 to 9 per cent across most regions.
Suggestions for addressing these findings include business and entrepreneurship education and training programs for women that place emphasise types of business instead of growth, and policies that increase social welfare benefits for corporate women.