Ahead of this Women’s’ Entrepreneurship Day, data from the 2017/2018 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) shows that female entrepreneurship is up and gender parity improving and highlights areas of focus to improve support for women entrepreneurs.
This Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (19 November) there is much to celebrate, but it is also an opportunity to look at how women can be better supported to succeed in small business.
According to the 2017/18 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), the female entrepreneurship rate increased by 6.6% when comparing the same set of 50 countries that participated in the survey in 2016 and 2017. In comparison, the male rate increased by .7%. Previously, a 2017 GEM report focusing on women highlighted that female entrepreneurial activity increased by 10% globally from 2014 to 2016.
Now in its 19th consecutive year, GEM has gained widespread recognition as the most authoritative longitudinal study of entrepreneurship in the world. It offers valuable insights to guide future research and policy decision-making as well as the design of interventions that can enhance female entrepreneurship.
Key findings from the 2017/18 global report include:
– The best performing region for female entrepreneurship is Latin America and the Caribbean with an average female Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate of 16.7% followed by North America at 12.8%.
– Europe reports the lowest average female involvement in early-stage entrepreneurial activity (6.1%).
– Gender parity is highest in the Latin American and Caribbean region with 8 women entrepreneurs to every 10 men. It is lowest in Europe with 6 female for every 10 male entrepreneurs.
Gender parity is also low in the African region (0.6) and North America (0.65) – women in those regions are two-thirds or less as likely to be engaged in TEA as their male counterparts.
– Female entrepreneurship levels decline as economic development level improves. Rates are highest among women in developing economies (13.3%) and lowest in the developed economies (7%).
– Women are 28% more likely than men to be necessity-motivated in the developing economies. While female participation in entrepreneurship is lowest in innovation-driven economies, on average, they are only 19% more likely than men to be necessity-motivated.
According to GEM Executive Director Mike Herrington, women entrepreneurs make a significant contribution toward the growth and wellbeing of their societies and offering them more targeted support will pay dividends for economic development in any country.
But he cautioned that women entrepreneurs across the world are more different than similar in terms of personal demographics, attitudes, and the types of businesses they run and that support initiatives for women entrepreneurs need be tailored and customised per economy – rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
“The ratio of male to female participation in early-stage entrepreneurial activity varies considerably across the total sample of GEM countries, reflecting differences in culture and conditions regarding female participation in the economy,” he said.
“GEM data indicates that as development and educational level increases, entrepreneurial participation among women declines and the gender gap increases, but business discontinuance rates also slow down. While the female discontinuance rate exceeds that of males in the developing economies, although only by about 10%, fewer women in highly developed economies have exited businesses, at only two-thirds the rate of men.”
Policy recommendations from the GEM 2017/18 report directed at improving female entrepreneurship include the need to create more social and support networks that serve as mentoring, consulting or advisory groups to assist women entrepreneurs, as well as work to change stereotyping that may be holding back women entrepreneurs in certain regions.