Top Ten Womenabling Research Facts of 2014

Top TenWe’ve kept tabs on the facts and figures that have been published during the course of the year (as we do every year). Here are what we consider to be the top ten new research-based facts about women business owners and their enterprises of 2014. They fall into four general categories: money, mentoring, metrics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Here they are, along with links to the original source material for your reference. Many happy returns of the season from Womenable!

Money

  1. International CurrencyClosing the credit cap for women-owned SMEs across the developing world as a whole could boost the growth in per capita income by over 110 basis points (1.1%) on average. ~ Goldman Sachs Global Market Institute. February 2014. Giving credit where it is due.

  2. In an analysis of over 25,000 projects on Kickstarter, launched by 22,000 entrepreneurs between 2009 and 2012 and supported by over 1.1 million investors, researchers found that this crowdfunding platform is more hospitable than many other forms of business financing for women. For example: 1) a significant share of Kickstarter investors (40%) are women; 2) these women are more likely than men (40% versus 23%) to invest in women-led projects; and 3) women-led projects are more successful than those launched by men. The fundraising success rate for women was 69.5%, compared to 61.4% for men. ~ Dan Maroum, Alicia Robb, Orly Sade. May 2014. Gender Dynamics in Crowdfunding (Kickstarter): Evidence on Entrepreneurs, Investors, Deals and Taste Based Discrimination.


  3. The amount of early-stage investment in companies with a woman on the executive team has tripled to 15 percent from 5 percent in the last 15 years. Despite this positive trend, 85 percent of all venture capital–funded businesses have no women on the executive team. This is the case despite the finding that businesses with a woman on the executive team are more likely to have higher valuations at both first and last funding (64 percent higher and 49 percent higher, respectively). ~ Candida G. Brush, Patricia G. Greene, Lakshmi Balachandra, Amy E. Davis. September 2014. Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital.


  4. In 2013 women angels represented 19.4% of the angel market, similar to 2012 (21.8%). Women-owned ventures accounted for 23% of the entrepreneurs that were seeking angel capital and 19% of these women entrepreneurs received angel investment in 2013. ~ Jeffrey Sohl, Center for Venture Research. April 2014. The Angel Investor Market in 2013: A Return to Seed Investing.

Mentors

  1. Closeup of business people with hands on handsAn analysis of high-growth women entrepreneurs (those with sales or employment growth of 20%+ over the past three years) in Latin America and the Caribbean finds that growing up in an entrepreneurial family helps define their entrepreneurial spirit. Both high-growth men and women are more likely than average to seek mentors to guide their growth. However, while high-growth men entrepreneurs seek mentors from outside their family, women tend to receive guidance from within their own families. ~ EY, Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank. March 2014. WEGrow: Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  2. A comparison of a survey of women in technology firms launched between 2002 and 2012 with a more general sampling of technology firms founded in 2004 (the Kauffman Firm Survey) finds that female and male entrepreneurs have a lot in common. They would seem to start their companies for similar reasons, cite similar self-perceived reasons for success, and face similar challenges. However, several differences stand out: 1) the women technology entrepreneurs surveyed don’t appear to have had inspiring role models as their principal motivation; 2) women entrepreneurs in general appear to respond differently than men do to failure, and cite lessons learned from failure as a big reason for success; and 3) there is a financing gap when it comes to high-tech and high-potential women entrepreneurs. That financing gap turns into a growth gap in terms of company outcomes. Finding ways to fill that financing gap could have a huge payoff in job creation and innovation. ~ Alicia Robb, Susan Coleman, Dane Stangler. November 2014. Sources of Economic Hope: Women’s Entrepreneurship.

Metrics

  1. measuring_tape copyIn an analysis of the conditions in which growth-oriented women’s entrepreneurship can prosper, the United States (with a score of 83), Australia (80) and Sweden (73) are the top ranking countries among 30 analyzed. They are followed by France and Germany (tied at 67), Chile (55), the United Kingdom (54) and Poland (51) which all received an overall score of 50 or more. ~ Ruta Aidis, The GEDI Institute. June 2014. The Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index.

  2. As of 2012, just under one-third (29%) of the 40.6 million business owners in Europe are women, up from 26% in 2003. Over that nine-year period, the share of business owners who are female has risen most strongly in Lichtenstein (with a 16% increase in the share of entrepreneurs who are female), Iceland (+8%), and Cyprus (+8%), compared with the overall 3% increase. ~ European Commission. September 2014. Statistical Data on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe.


  3. On average over the past 17 years, there has been a net increase of 591 women-owned businesses in the United States each and every day. The number of net new women-owned firms has fallen in the wake of the recession – there was a net increase of 714 women-owned firms per day from 2002 to 2007, and a lesser 506 per day between 2007 and 2014 – but start-up activity is increasing. Just in the past year, there have been an estimated 1,288 net new women-owned firms launched each and every day. ~ American Express OPEN & Womenable. March 2014. The 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

STEM

  1. womanlab copyWomen have increased their representation in STEM graduate enrollment, but that increase has been uneven across STEM fields. Women have achieved parity for PhDs in biological and medical sciences, but their enrollment continues to lag in some of the most entrepreneurial fields, such as bioengineering, mechanical, and civil engineering and materials science. Further, across all STEM fields, female PhDs have lower rates of entrepreneurship than their male colleagues (5% compared to 7%), and file fewer patents (15% vs. 28%). ~ Margaret E. Blume-Kohout for SBA Office of Advocacy. October 2014. Understanding the Gender Gap in STEM Fields Entrepreneurship.

  2. (A 2-for-1 listing: this report also appeared in our ‘mentors’ category) A comparison of a survey of women in technology firms launched between 2002 and 2012 with a more general sampling of technology firms founded in 2004 (the Kauffman Firm Survey) finds that female and male entrepreneurs have a lot in common. They would seem to start their companies for similar reasons, cite similar self-perceived reasons for success, and face similar challenges. However, several differences stand out: 1) the women technology entrepreneurs surveyed don’t appear to have had inspiring role models as their principal motivation; 2) women entrepreneurs in general appear to respond differently than men do to failure, and cite lessons learned from failure as a big reason for success; and 3) there is a financing gap when it comes to high-tech and high-potential women entrepreneurs. That financing gap turns into a growth gap in terms of company outcomes. Finding ways to fill that financing gap could have a huge payoff in job creation and innovation. ~ Alicia Robb, Susan Coleman, Dane Stangler. November 2014. Sources of Economic Hope: Women’s Entrepreneurship.

The 2014 GGG: Improving With Age

For the ninth straight year, the World Economic Forum has published its Global Gender Gap Report, an analysis of the relative parity of women and men in 142 countries on four important dimensions: health and survival, education, economic empowerment and political participation.
GGGR_2014_cover
As in previous years, countries in the Nordic region top the list as having the highest degree of gender equality, even though there’s room for improvement in all countries. Here’s the list of the top ten countries this year, along with their scores (which theoretically can range from 0 for complete inequality to 1 for complete equality):

1.    Iceland (0.86)
2.    Finland (0.85)
3.    Norway (0.84)
4.    Sweden (0.82)
5.    Denmark (0.80)
6.    Nicaragua (0.79)
7.    Rwanda (0.79)
8.    Ireland (0.79)
9.    Philippines (0.78)
10.    Belgium (0.78)

At the bottom of the list, with the least amount of gender equality, are:

142.    Yemen (.51)
141.    Pakistan (.55)
140.    Chad (.58)
139.    Syria (.58)
138.    Mail (.58)
137.    Iran (.58)
136.    Cote d’Ivoire (.59)
135.    Lebanon (.59)
134.    Jordan (.60)
133.    Morocco (.60)

What’s most interesting, however, is the fact that 111 countries have been tracked for all nine years, so there’s now a growing body of knowledge with respect to areas of improvement and decline. Some of the most noteworthy trends include:

  • Among the four pillars of the GGG, the gender gap is narrowest in the area of health and survival, with a 0.96 rating globally. While 35 countries have closed this gap entirely, this is the only subindex in which gender parity has declined over the nine years of analysis. At the other end of the gender gap spectrum, the ratio of the political empowerment of women compared to that of men remains at just 0.21 among the 111 nations tracked over the past nine years. This pillar, however, has seen the most improvement since 2006.
  • Regionally, Latin America has seen the largest absolute reduction in their overall gender gap, with 4.2% of their gap narrowed since 2006. At the other end of the spectrum, the Asia-Pacific region is the only region in which the gender gap has widened, by 3.2%.
  • Between 2006 and 2014, 105  of 111 countries have made progress overall, while just six countries have regressed relative to their starting point. The countries that have seen the largest reductions in their gender gaps, relative to where they were ranked in 2006, are: Nicaragua, Nepal, France, Ecuador, and Saudi Arabia.

The six countries that have seen a worsening of their gender gaps in the areas of health, education, economic participation and political empowerment since 2006 are: Croatia, Jordan, Macedonia, Mali, Sri Lanka and Tunisia.

With nearly a decade’s worth of data made public through these reports, what are the lessons we can learn? First and foremost, while there is indeed a vast difference in gender equality between #1 Iceland and #142 Yemen, there is room for improvement in every economy – especially with respect to political inclusion and economic empowerment. While health and education have seen tremendous gains over the past decade, women’s voices are frequently absent from political and economic decision-making – to the detriment of those county’s economic health and social stability.

Secondly, parity does not necessarily equal empowerment. Closing gender gaps, while an important indicator of overall well-being, should not lead us to think that our womenabling work is done. Improving the overall level of health, education, political inclusion and economic empowerment for both women and men is important as well.

Finally, having nearly a decade’s worth of data increases our level of insight and analysis and shows us that, while there has been improvement in nearly every country since 2006, there has been some decline – both within some individual countries and regionally in the Asia-Pacific region. Having information such as this on a consistent and detailed basis can inform policymaking and fuel advocacy. OK, womenablers, on your mark, set, go!

Visit http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2014 to learn more, see where your country ranks, and to download the complete report. And here’s a brief 2-minute video explaining the impetus behind the GGG initiative.