What can female entrepreneurs rejoice about?

11 April 2014 05:18 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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It seems much. According to the Gender Global Entrepreneurship Development Index, the conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship are three-fold - encouraging an entrepreneurial environment, entrepreneurial eco-system and entrepreneurial aspirations. Currently, the U.S. is listed right at the top among 17 countries which have got the mix right. There are others too.



The better leaders
The women who have chosen the path of entrepreneurship are classified as the ones who will lead the way for the shattering of the glass ceiling. Some of the many reasons women entrepreneurs will crack glass are common to all women and others are considered unique to entrepreneurs.

Apparently, women have the right stuff that enables them to get things done. According to research conducted by Zenger Folkman and quoted in Forbes Women, women do make better leaders, build better reams and are more liked as managers because they can combine logical and intuitive thinking more seamlessly. They also are aware of the implications of actions and are more focused on the practical aspects.

Twenty-first-century leadership skills, such as cooperation, communication and sharing are also more commonly associated with women, according to John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio, authors of The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future.

Research also confirms that women are able to deliver better performance inputs. Venture-backed companies that have women senior executives have performed well, according to Dow Jones Venture Source. VC further confirms that women-led businesses are likely to outperform male-led businesses, as confirmed by the SBA Office of Advocacy. All of this might have something to do with research that suggests women manage money better.





Makers of better companies
Women also make better companies it seems because women can understand other women better – this applies quite a bit to female entrepreneurs who have often founded a business based on a need. The insights into women as consumers give us the edge in developing products that better fulfil our needs. With 80 percent of consumer spending controlled by women, and women having considerable influence on spending categories that are considered the domain of men, such as autos and electronics, that is a whole lot of purchasing power for products and services developed by women.

There are many success stories such as Deborah Jackson who started Plum Alley as a medium that connects female consumers with women who make high-quality goods and provide excellent services. Jackson is also helping women find funding and source talent to ensure business success. Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan developed Hukkster because they missed getting employee discounts after working at J. Crew. Diana Lovett’s Cissé is a line of gourmet baking and hot cocoa mixes that cater to women like herself. Her company specializes in organic cocoa bought from South America where growers are assured of a fair price.

According to research, women with access to wealth are growing as twice as faster than men. Although women angel investors are still too small to be considered, it has grown by 50 percent from 2011 to 2012. According to latest data, 45 percent of all American millionaires are women while 60 percent of high-net-worth women have earned their own fortunes. Some predict that by 2030, women will control as much as two-thirds of that nation’s wealth.



Tendency to be practical
Women also tend to be practical and grounded when it comes to launching pad ideas. They are less likely to get carried away with grandiose schemes and are generally able to keep their feet grounded. The experts have always stood by the fact that many women would not venture into risk and debt in a manner that would hurt their reputation and endanger their standing within their families as the chief care giver. That theory has also formed the bed rock of the micro credit principles particularly in this part of the world where microfinance literally sustains communities based on the loans provided to women.

Women who have chosen the path of entrepreneurship often learn life’s toughest lessons while at work. Once you have dealt with the financial backing, the planning processes, the successes and the failures or knowing which products work and which don’t and by the time you have figured out the consumer and the needs, you have pretty much done it all. The experience can be frightening but equally empowering and a huge learning curve in life. Such life-changing experiences can bring out the best in mothers and wives, daughters and sisters who have gone on to achieve success that may have deterred most men.

The stories of Sri Lankan female entrepreneurs have been the same. Their stories are indeed worth telling and recording for future generations. Courageous and outstanding ladies such as Aban Pestonjee have succeeded in building companies that have passed on a legacy worth enough to be written about. Their success can and must drive the future of female entrepreneurship for future generations.  

(Nayomini Weerasooriya, a senior journalist, writer and a PR professional, can be contacted at nayominiweerrasooriya@gmail.com)
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