While entrepreneurship has generally been male dominated, the timing has never been better for women to be entrepreneurs. Many factors in our modern day context have changed in favour of women starting – and running – businesses. Like Hilary Clinton once said, “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” As an entrepreneur working with and meeting so many women in startups, I can’t agree with her more, having exchanged so many wonderful ideas and finding so much synergy with many intelligent and brilliant women in the startup scene. It certainly looks like now is the best time for the world to witness the unleashing of talent, creativity and finesse from women and for us to pursue entrepreneurship, with so many helpful considerations on our side.
1. Technology as an enabler
Technology is a wonderful thing. It has made significant improvements to our lives and is a key enabler in putting more women in entrepreneurship roles. I, for one, have been able to carry out photo and video journalism singlehandedly when LadyBoss first began with the help of technology. It wouldn’t have been the case in the past where cameras, video cameras and equipment were so heavy. I probably wouldn’t have been able to manage myself!
The rise of mobile apps and communication tools such as Slack and project management teams are key in enabling team collaboration, even for remote working. This is a huge benefit for many women entrepreneurs who are also mums that need the flexibility to work and care for their family and multitask. With these tools, a mumpreneur, for instance, would be able to easily coordinate with her team while preparing meals for her kids and stay connected even when she is one the move doing school pickups and grocery runs.
2. The Evolution & Growth of Social Media
A closely related topic to technology is the rise of social media. In fact, women dominate the social media such as Facebook with a higher representation of 76% compared to 66% of men. The trends are also similar when we look at Instagram (20% vs 15%), Twitter (22% vs 15%) and Pinterest (33% vs 8%).
More women use social media to connect with acquaintances and friends – probably due to women being more visual – which may explain the high use rate of Pinterest and Instagram.
More importantly, marketing and selling is shifting to the online social realm which is great for women entrepreneurs whether they are running their own businesses or helping to consult other businesses. The best part of it is that marketing on social media doesn’t cost anything if you just to do it organically and is far more intuitive than say search engine optimisation.
3. Society Perception and Role Models
Society perception has also shifted dramatically with more women maintaining their career path and starting their own businesses. Women’s disposable income has increased significantly as a result and it is a good time to start a business catered to women.
The number of successful business women especially locally, such as those featured on LadyBoss, also helps to serve as role models to inspire more women to embark on the entrepreneurship route.
4. Rise of Women Entrepreneur Groups & Business Mentoring Groups
Where business networking events and groups have been generally dominated by men, we are now witnessing a rise in women entrepreneur groups and business mentoring groups, such as the LadyBoss Elite, SheWorx and CRIB.
Taking part in events and joining such groups is a great way to build networks and learn more about the various aspects of running a business. It doesn’t matter whether you are at the stage where you have no clue how to begin or looking to take your business to the next level – there are groups out there which will help educate you as you pursue entrepreneurship. You can always start by networking with other female founders, exchange ideas and pointers, and see where that takes you!
Women entrepreneurship is growing but we are still a minority. Supporting each other is the best way to grow together. Entrepreneurship can be a challenging journey, but it doesn’t have to be lonely at all. A key element of success is to have mentors and a strong support network. And oh yes, plus that gumption to stick with what you believe with passion and grit even when the going gets tough, and encouraging others to do the same along the way.