We are at a point in history when entrepreneurial activity worldwide, and in particular the participation of women in business, are key drivers of global economic prosperity. By Rania Anderson (Founder & President, The Way Women Work)
It is estimated that there are more than 400 million entrepreneurs worldwide which include around 163 million early-stage women entrepreneurs.
Last month, The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), one of the largest and most developed research studies on entrepreneurship in the world, released its 2012 Global Report. Unlike most entrepreneurship data studies that measure the number of new or startup firms, GEM studies the behavior of individuals that start, manage and grow businesses.
GEM studies 5 predictors of entrepreneurial activity around the world, exploring:
- Attitudes about entrepreneurship
- Perceptions about the opportunities for entrepreneurship
- Perception about capabilities to be an entrepreneur
- Intention of starting a business
- Fear of failure
According to GEM, women become entrepreneurs for many of the same reasons as men, citing the need as to support themselves and their families, to have fulfilling lives and careers and/or to achieve financial independence. Yet, the wide differences in the entrepreneurial participation rates among men and women worldwide persists. While governmental policies, business practices and societal norms account for some of that disparity, the differences can also be explained by examining the marked differences in women and men’s attitudes about entrepreneurship and in their ambitions for growth.
Many organizations globally continue to channel attention and resources toward the entrepreneurship education, support and financing of women-led businesses. Others work toward eliminating gender bias in business regulations practices and policies. But, women wishing to pursue an entrepreneurial career don’t have to wait on these efforts. We can be drivers and contributors of entrepreneurial success by examining and building our own attitudes, perceptions and capabilities.
So, if you wish to generate your own entrepreneurial activity in your corner of the world, leverage the findings of the GEM report and take these actions:
- Be open to the idea that starting and running a business can be a rewarding career choice. Look for and learn about women entrepreneurs in your market and in your area of study.
- Become aware and knowledgeable about potential business opportunities in your area.
- Continually invest in your business and entrepreneurial skills through reading, participation in training and by observing successful entrepreneurs.
- Examine your tolerance for risk and failure. Learn about and talk with entrepreneurs who have failed. Gain a better understanding about your country’s attitude and general acceptance of business failures as stepping stones to success.
- Think big: Reflect on your ambitions to grow a business. Endeavor to pursue growth and aspire to build a business that is beyond a micro enterprise to one that is robust, high-growth and contains job, wealth and value creation opportunities. Resources, funding and media are most readily available for entrepreneurs with high growth opportunities and plans.
- Learn from entrepreneurs who have successfully sold, merged or exited their business as key lessons for building a successful business are often contained in understanding the steps entrepreneurs took to achieve their exits.
Remember - your attitude about entrepreneurship is a key determinant of your business success!
This post was originally posted at The Way Women Work. About the guest blogger: Rania Anderson is Founder and President of The Way Women Work, a career advice site for women in emerging markets. As an entrepreneur, executive business coach and angel investor, she shares expert career and business advice with women around the world. Rania is also the co-founder of the Women’s Capital Connection, the 8th women's angel network in the United States and an equity investor in women-owned businesses. Follow her on Twitter at @TheWayWomenWork.