As a project manager, I face many women entrepreneurs I talk to and many women who are different kinds of businesses and who reach to build businesses on what they like, love, and believe in.
As it was said by some of them – business is not for everyone. Some of them are excellent business women. Some of them start business but don’t continue it. In case of both women or men is both challenging and gratifying. It depends on how much you are motivated to make it happen.
Challenges and Rewards of Entrepreneurship for Women
Just a week ago, I’ve in training about Business Development and it said that more person loves and knows to do the business, more motivation they will have once hard times come. Hard times, challenges, changes are the constant part of the Business and for craftswomen who are more creative and creativity oriented, it might be difficult to figure out all practicalities. That’s where YouGo project can help beginner entrepreneur crafts women to develop their basic entrepreneurial skills. Check out project website Empowerment (yougoproject.com).
When it comes to women’s involvement in entrepreneurship, they are more rarely involved in it compared to men. According to European statistics, only 29% of women out of 11.6 million business people are women. It has seen a slight increase of 3% in recent years; however, it is still quite a low number, considering that European countries seek equal rights for women and men in the labour market and business fields.
However, we should look at these numbers per country. E.g., Lithuania, together with Latvia, is at the top of the grid with 40% of women entrepreneurs after Liechtenstein (43%). That being said, we can notice disparities between countries. That may be caused by culture, traditions, and women’s independence, together with motivation concerning having your own business. Even in countries with high rates of women entrepreneurs, women businesses and business women have more struggles than men, such as being taken seriously or treated equally to men.
Disparities in Women Entrepreneurship Rates: Factors and Challenges.
But what are the factors that cause women to not take the route of having and developing their businesses?
One of the reasons that lays in depth of society is assumption that “women don’t possess the traits necessary for entrepreneurship, such as competitiveness or independence”. That is, however, just an assumption.
Moreover, while talking to women entrepreneurs, I realised that many small businesses of women are NOT even competing. They just follow the set of their own values, like helping community, bringing people together, supporting and caring about each other. Once you base your business on community and expand it accordingly, also if you don’t feel competition, you don’t need the trait to be competitive. You base the business on being unique and community oriented, and that causes different kind of business, totally different from typical men businesses where competition and independence are the main values
Why Women Are Or Are Not Involved in Entrepreneurship
According to Business New Daily (Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face) (businessnewsdaily.com), 7 challenges women face are:
1. Defying social expectations
2. Accessing funding
3. Struggling to be taken seriously
4. Owning their accomplishments
5. Building a support network
6. Balancing business and family life
7. Coping with fear of failure
These reasons can cause demotivation to be more and more involved in business creation and development. Elaborating further on why these challenges happen, I notice that women are usually more shy and not as confident as men to start their businesses, even if they might have a set of skills needed for entrepreneurship. Men have tendency to try create businesses and risk even financially, while women are scared to take risks and fail, as they are taught to take care of finances carefully. They don’t want to take big financial risks. Women businesses I’ve been interviewing in Lithuania usually work on Grant or on personal and family savings.
Another challenge for women is balancing business and family life. Many European countries try to balance Women and Men roles while caring after children and implementing equal roles in daily life. However, that is NOT an easy task to make. For thousands of years women were considered to be caretakers. Even in “equality” times, even in countries where women are businesswomen and take same high roles as men, they still ARE the main caretakers in their homes and with children. The concept of “super mom” means woman working and managing home and children mostly by herself. That causes bigger stress and more effort while having “high level” career. The challenge, however, lays in society mentality about women and how they “should” or “shouldn’t” be.
On a lighter note, the businesses are changing and women businesses are part of bigger change. They shape the business world to take different direction: to care more, to be more with a community and to support each other. And maybe in 5 years time, with time running very fast, we’ll face totally different tendencies, going towards well-being of each and every worker, supporting the strength of each person and valuing the uniqueness of people.