Back in February of this year, the management consultancy Ernst & Young published a well-designed report, “Groundbreakers,” that synthesized and summarized the growing body of evidence that investing in the empowerment and inclusion of women can reap economic rewards. Focusing largely on women in corporate settings, the report made the point that diversity is “an equation for success” and pointed out the need to get beyond token inclusion to the adoption of diversity as a central tenet of leadership development and team-building.
In their latest report in what they are now calling their “Groundbreakers” series, Ernst & Young turns their attention to women’s entrepreneurship. “Scaling up: Why women-owned businesses can recharge the global economy” gathers up many sources familiar to we womenablers and again compiles an easy-on-the-eyes summary of key points, such as:
- legal and cultural barriers currently set many women business owners on a lower growth trajectory,
- access to markets, networks and capital are all challenges, and
- education and business support often does not get women past the ABC’s of starting a business and on a path to thinking bigger.
What does the report suggest in the way of possible solutions to these challenges? More mentoring and roles models, programs to expand professional networks for women, and nurturing high-potential women business owners with coaching and other forms of personalized support – such as those offered by the ATHENA PowerLink mentoring program, Count Me In’s Make Mine a Million $ Business initiative, Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative and Ernst & Young’s own “Winning Women” program launched last year.
The report ends with this call to arms:
“As it is used in sociology, the term ‘tipping point’ — popularized
by author Malcolm Gladwell in his bestselling book of that name —
describes the transformation that results when a movement
for change reaches the point where it becomes an inexorable
force. Gladwell calls it ‘the moment of critical mass, the threshold,
the boiling point.’ Women are at the threshold. As we emerge
from a historic economic downturn, a vital push is needed
to make women’s enterprises an unstoppable force for