The Global Rise of Female Entrepreneurs

Women’s entrepreneurship has hit a media tipping point. The question is: Is it just a passing media fad that will soon be a blip on the radar screen, or is it actually a real, fundamental economic force that’s reshaping the world? I think it’s safe to say that it’s the latter. Women-owned entities in the formal sector represent approximately 37% of enterprises globally — a market worthy of attention by businesses and policy makers alike.

While aggregated data is often challenging to find, the recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found 126 million women starting or running businesses, and 98 million operating established (over three and a half years) businesses. That’s 224 million women impacting the global economy — and this survey counts only 67 of the 188 countries recognized by the World Bank.

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Smart companies are watching this trend. They see that women — including the billion women entering the formal economy as employees and entrepreneurs — will dictate their business success. Coca-Cola sees five million women entrepreneurs as part of its global supply chain by 2020. Wal-Mart understands the power of women-led firms to innovate compelling products. Itau perceives the 50% of Brazilian entrepreneurs that are women as a core market, and other members of the Global Banking Alliance for Women think similarly. And all firms should realize that in the war for talent, women are increasingly seeing entrepreneurship as a compelling alternative if a career path appears stunted.

Entrepreneurial activity creates growth and prosperity — and solutions for social problems. And today’s trends show that women will be a driving force of entrepreneurial growth in the future.

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by Jackie VanderBrug