Starting your own business is a nerve-wracking and exciting activity for any budding entrepreneur, regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. But recent research shows that women may find starting a business even more daunting - so daunting that their dream of running their own show doesn't materialise.
Men, for example, own twice the number of businesses than women in Germany. In countries like Thailand, China, and South Africa, the numbers are close to equal, although in no country do women own the majority of businesses, according to Aurora Network. Some of the many reasons for such a poor turnout of female business owners and creators include lack of funding, gender stereotyping, and lack of professional networks.
Why would obtaining funding for a start-up be any more difficult for a woman than for a man, especially in 2008? It may be a matter of lacking information - information men have better access to, as they are more likely to have obtained better business networks. They're more inclined to spend time in places like golf courses with business leaders who know the ins and outs of business loans and similar opportunities. A Business Development Manager working on the QS Women in Leadership Forums, Zoya Zaitseva explains, Women are hardworking and determined, but starting a business is never easy, and women may be at a disadvantage when it comes to inside information that may circulate when the boys go out together. Furthermore, men often find networking easier for one very important reason - they are often more assertive than their female counterparts when it comes to networking with those who can help with financing information.
Accessing funding from banks can also prove more difficult for women than for men. It is not that banks discriminate outright, but long-held stereotypes and misconceptions prevail about women in business. Many banks assume that a woman will not devote the same amount of time to a business that a man will, or that she will work fewer hours in favour of raising a family, therefore, minimizing potential profits. They may think she is not as business-minded as a man or that she doesn't have the technical skills to grow a business.
On a very basic level, women simply may not have the exceptional amount of time it takes to create a business. HR Director of HP, Elena Tergueva explains, Starting your own business is a risky exercise. Women normally have more responsibilities than men: managing family, children, work, and thus they are pushed to be more cautious, realistic and rational. Stability and predictability play a serious role in deciding whether or not to start one's own business.