There is no question that female entrepreneurs are a vital economic resource the world over; in both developing and developed nations, their contribution to a stable and growing economy is becoming more and more understood.
For example, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the world’s largest HR body, recently released a report extolling the importance of female entrepreneurs; they found that by equalizing the gender imbalance in the labor force, the UK alone could strengthen their economy by 0.5 per cent a year.
The CIPD also found that women-fronted businesses tend to be more sustainable, as women are often more financially prudent. Still, the number of female entrepreneurs lag behind the number of men starting their own businesses, raising the question of “how do we empower our female entrepreneurs, and how do we improve their experience of running a business in a male-dominated world?“
When you're your own boss, you can set your own hours, and often even work from home. This is ideal for women with young children, yet it doesn't occur to many stay-at-home mothers that they can still earn a respectable salary while maintaining a decent work-life balance. Women need to be educated about the opportunities that starting their own businesses can provide, without them having to schedule their family life around someone else's demands.
2. Improve access to grants.
The CIPD recommends that the government aid women who wish to leave the corporate world and create their own businesses by providing access to a business support portal, and providing financial support to encourage growth. Particularly in developing countries, access to financial support is a crucial part of empowering female entrepreneurs.
Nothing illustrates opportunity and promotes hope better than talking to another female entrepreneur who has overcome all the common hurdles faced by women in business and gone on to become incredibly successful. Turning to an angel investment firm (such as Golden Seeds in the US) that is run by women, for women, is an excellent way to receive both funding and mentorship from successful professionals.
4. Establish supportive connections.
As in most professions, entrepreneurship is as much about who you know as what you know. Indeed, Jo Ann Corkran, one of the top partners in Golden Seeds, cites connections as one of the best ways to empower female entrepreneurs; according to Jo Ann, “so much about success is the entrepreneur and the people whom the entrepreneur attracts around them. Our members are fantastically generous with their connections.”
5. A little education goes a long way.
Starting a business can seem like a completely overwhelming prospect to the absolute beginner, but thankfully, today there are more and more courses being offered that will train one in the practical aspects of setting up and running a business. This early training is key in avoiding costly mistakes down the road, and setting out with confidence and a sound strategy.
© 2014 The Female Leader .Biz
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