For many of us, it should come as no surprise that female entrepreneurs make up the fastest-growing segment of business owners, not only in the U.S. but around the world. As the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Entrepreneurship 2016/2017 Report states, "Female entrepreneurship continues on an upward trend globally. Latest research shows that women’s entrepreneurial activity is up 10%, closing the gender gap by 5% since 2014. In the past year, 163 million women were starting businesses across 74 economies worldwide, while 111 million were running established businesses." Moreover, women now control over $20 trillion in annual global consumer spending, and that number is expected to rise by an additional $10 trillion in the next several years.
Did you know that women entrepreneurs represent the fastest-growing segment of business owners in most countries of the developed world, including the U.S.? In fact, according to the Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, 63 of the 74 featured economies have experienced a 10% increase in overall female total entrepreneurial activity. Women control over $20 trillion in annual consumer spending across the world, and that figure is expected to rise by another $10 trillion in the coming years.
Yet in spite of this substantial worldwide growth, women do not get the necessary recognition they deserve. Below, I showcase three women entrepreneurs who went from zero to hero and in the process, made a name for themselves in the male-dominated world of business. Their stories highlight how woman-powered leadership can lead to highly innovative solutions that benefit everyone in the company, as well as their customers.
Read how they are doing things for others, leveraging their ideas and creating big solutions to serious problems.
Finally, "female CEO" is not an oxymoron.
Yes, women entrepreneurs have come a long way over the past several decades, but it wasn't so long ago that they had little to no influence in the business sector. Scores of women have changed all that but one who stands out as one of the first is Brownie Wise, a single mom who helped build a plastic food-storage empire known as Tupperware. Talk about a Blue Ocean strategic thinker!
Have you heard of the “third billion?” Even if you haven't, you're definitely going to feel their impact. “Third billion” describes a billion women from emerging markets who are going to join the global economy as entrepreneurs, employers and employees over the next decade. From Turkey to India, women entrepreneurs are taking leading roles in this global shift, transforming their local economies and their communities. Oh and in the process, changing the world.
Case in point: The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study looked at 59 economies around the world and found that women are creating businesses at a higher and faster rate than men in three economies, and at a nearly equal rate in four others. Specifically, the startup rates by gender are comparable in Brazil, Ecuador, Switzerland and Uganda, and in Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand, the rate of new women entrepreneurs is higher than that of men. In the remaining 52 economies, the proportions of men startups are higher than women, in some cases, up to six times higher.
This is excellent news on a global scale as it signals a growing positive trend. After decades of legislative, policy and socio-cultural changes that have empowered women by supporting and training them, the world is finally placing women in leading business roles.
Not only transforming economies but communities too
Are women good for business? You better believe it.
As women have taken on leadership roles, it’s paid off for both them and business
As I cite in a recent article in WE magazine for women, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that firms with women in the C-suite were more profitable. (Read the article here.) This should come as no surprise, given that the number of women-owned businesses grew 45 percent from 2007 to 2016, compared to just a 9 percent growth in the number of businesses overall.
For me, as a corporate anthropologist and culture change expert, this begs the question: With all these women in leadership roles, will they change workplace culture to make it more female-friendly? (Uber, Fox News and The Weinstein Company, take note.) Furthermore, what type of culture do women really want and is it that different from what men want, too?
To answer this and other gender-workplace issues, we at SAMC did some research. As it turns out, in many ways men and women want similar things at work. Both prefer a strong clan culture that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork and a focus on people.