Business Ideas for Women
For the past year I have been the founder of www.Problemio.com which creates mobile apps to help people plan and start a business. Since the apps first launched, over 15,000 of our users planned their businesses on our apps and over 3,500 of those businesses shared their information with us.
Traditionally, it has been nearly impossible to capture data on businesses that are in the business-idea and business-planning stages because so many of them are born and let go of without ever being recorded. But now, I can share what I found.
First, where are the entrepreneurs on our apps based
Below is a chart of some of the top countries of Business Ideas for Women by download volume.
This is data from our highest volume app which is the <a href=”https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.problemio&hl=en”>Android business plan app</a>. iOS apps have similar demographics, but are slightly more weighted towards US-based users. And our paid apps have nearly 80% of users from US, UK, Canada and Australia due to two factors: 1) the apps are more affordable in the aforementioned countries due to currency exchange rates, and 2) Not everyone in developing countries has a credit card.
The demographics of entrepreneurs in terms of age are pretty consistent across different countries with the biggest demographic being 19-30 years old. That is likely due to the fact that the apps are used by younger people in general. But the demographic of male vs. female entrepreneurs on the apps differs by country quite a bit.
In developing countries, the ratio of male to female entrepreneurs on the apps is about 9:1. I almost never encounter female entrepreneurs based in India, Malaysia or Indonesia. The idea of entrepreneurship still seems to be predominantly male. But in contrast, when it comes to entrepreneurs based in United States, women slightly outnumber men. Additionally, the types of Business Ideas for Women vary from those started by men. Here are two charts showing the difference. The first is by all US-based entrepreneurs:
And here is the chart for the United States based Business Ideas for Women:
Some caveats on the chart: Day care was taken out of the local service category and placed in its own category because it is one of the more common local services started by women.
Additionally, the low number of technology-based businesses is surprising and interesting as well.
How do the businesses do?
Unfortunately, most businesses fail. And most idea or planning-stage businesses don’t get off the ground enough to actually fail. And most first-time entrepreneurs are not quite the hardly entrepreneurs who stick with their business and will it to success. The persistence required to be a true entrepreneur is a skill that get sharpened over time.
But there are many interesting stories and outcomes that I have observed. The most interesting of those is by someone who I think of as the top entrepreneur on the apps ever.
She is a female entrepreneur named Zaakirah Rossier, based in South Africa. She originally emailed me asking for advice about a start-up idea that would connect professional and freelance photographers with people who would want to hire them. We went back and forth about it, but eventually Zaakirah decided to table the idea because it required a developer, long-term commitment, and some parts of the strategy were unclear or ultimately too risky. It was difficult for her to balance this business with already having full time work and finishing her Masters program in journalism.
While she tabled that business idea for a later time, she kept pursuing her curiosity for learning business and social media. She kept asking interesting questions that were engaging and I could tell she wanted to learn. So I shared what I could and eventually gave her access to some of my social media accounts to try out some techniques she was asking about. She quickly handled the social media accounts for Problemio better than I ever did. And she kept at it. Then it was clear that she “owned” those accounts and we essentially agreed that she would be in charge of social media for Problemio. Since Zaakirah also had a background in PR, she took that over as well, and is now working along side with me in just about every marketing effort we do.
So while it would have taken her a long time to just get her own business to have a live product, instead she joined a very young but growing business where she is learning everything there is to learn about starting and growing a business. And from this experience, I am sure her own next venture will be a success.
Alex Genadinik is a mobile developer and a founder of www.Problemio.com business plan apps which help people plan and start a business. Alex holds a B.S in Computer Science from San Jose State University. Please say hello to Alex on Twitter @genadinik.