New York City Tops New Womenabling Cities Index

A new accounting of the most supportive cities for growth-oriented women entrepreneurs was recently released at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, just ahead of the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WE Cities Index lists the 25 cities globally that provide the most supportive capital, technology, talent, culture and markets for growth-oriented women, a population they refer to as “high potential women entrepreneurs.” Those cities are:DellWECitieschart

  1. New York City
  2. the San Francisco Bay Area
  3. London
  4. Stockholm
  5. Singapore
  6. Toronto
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Sydney
  9. Paris
  10. Seattle
  11. Munich
  12. Austin
  13. Beijing
  14. Hong Kong
  15. Taipei
  16. Shanghai
  17. Tokyo
  18. Mexico City
  19. São Paulo
  20. Seoul
  21. Milan
  22. Delhi
  23. Johannesburg
  24. Jakarta
  25. Istanbul

For an interactive look at how each of these cities ranks in the five major index areas, visit this web page.

The WE Cities Index follows on the heels of the Global Women Entrepreneurs Scorecard, which was released the prior year. That effort analyzed 21 variables in a five-element framework, and ranked 31 countries around the globe for their supportive policies and programs to help women scale their enterprises. The findings of the country-focused effort (which was supported in part from Womenable) were highlighted in this Womenable blogpost from 2015.

Tops on that list were the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom — home to nine of the 25 top-ranked global cities for women entrepreneurs who are shooting for the stars. Godspeed on your journey, ladies!

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Four Womenabling Numbers You Should Know

At the recent Enterprising Women of the Year annual gathering, I spoke to other members of the Editorial Advisory Board to update them on trends in women’s entrepreneurship around the world. This year, I shared four key numbers that every womenabler should know. Here they are for all of you to know and share as well: infogram4numbers

69

For every 100 male business owners there are around the world, there are only 69 female business owners. (SOURCE: Babson College, 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women’s Report, 2015)

392 million

The number of women business owners worldwide. (SOURCE: Womenable calculation based on data from the International Labour Organisation’s 2015 Key Indicators of the Labour Market report)

$285 billion

The estimated gender credit gap in developing economies around the world. (SOURCE: Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute, Giving credit where it is due, 2014)

$12 (or $28) trillion

The amount that would be added to global GDP if there were economic gender parity among all countries in each region of the world (the ‘best in region’ scenario, totaling $12T) or among all countries worldwide (the ‘full potential’ scenario, totaling $28T). (SOURCE: McKinsey Global Institute, The Power of Parity, 2015)

So, fellow womenablers, keep these four (or five) numbers at the ready. They not only indicate the amount of work we still have to do, but the benefits that will be realized once we approach economic parity. Onward and upward!

The Ten Most Womenabling Hashtags of 2015

It’s that time of the year … time for Top Ten lists! Womenable has joined in on the list-making since 2009, focusing primarily on the most noteworthy womenabling news, events and research of the year or – in the case of 2013 (the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988) – of the previous 25 years.

Last year, we departed from our usual practice, distilling the top womenabling news of 2014 down to the top research-based factoids/soundbites.

This year, our 2015 Top Ten list – in keeping with growing trend toward shorter and sharper communication – is distilled even further, focusing on the top women’s empowerment hashtags of the year.

Now, there have been many feminist/social issue hashtags (such as #BringBackOurGirls, #YesAllWomen, #EverydaySexism, and #MeuPrimeiroAssedio [myfirstharrassment]) as well as a few interesting corporate “You Go, Girl” hashtags (with corresponding well-produced videos: #LikeaGirl and #ShineStrong primary among them), but here we want to focus on empowerment as a social media conversation.

So here, in alphabetical order within the general topic of conversation, is Womenable’s assessment of the Top Ten women’s empowerment hashtags of 2015:

All for One/One for All: These three hashtags are focused on rallying fellow women – and men – in working together for greater gender equality.allforone

  1. #AllinForHer, an initiative of Women Moving Millions.
  2. #HeforShe, an effort launched by UN Women on #IWD2014 with the star power of Emma Watson.
  3. #IronSisters, an exhortation of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes for women to help other women, especially in non-traditional fields such as STEM.

Confronting Stereotypes: These three hashtags rose up from women responding to sexist stereotypes: the “boys with toys” notion that only men like technology or engineering, or to throwback ad campaigns.looklikeanengineer

  1. #GirlsWithToys, a social media response to an offhand comment from a male scientist, showing that girls like science, too.
  2. The misogynistic responses from a seemingly harmless company recruitment campaign prompted this hashtag response. #ILookLikeanEngineer is well worth a look.
  3. The feminist social media response from a “what were they thinking” ad campaign launched by a mobile phone company in India, #WhatWomenLove, is likewise well worth reading. (Also, this just in: IBM, normally a forward-thinking corporation with respect to gender diversity, is catching flak for an ill-thought-out hashtag campaign, #HackaHairDryer. Sheesh!)

Entrepreneurial Women: The only one of our top ten hashtags focused on women’s entrepreneurship, this social multi-media campaign gathered the stories of 1,000 women who are growing their own enterprising ventures.

  1. #1000Stories, from our friends at The Story Exchange

 

Where Are the Women?: These three social media conversations highlight the fact that women are still missing from many seats of power, and are underrepresented in STEM professions.

  1. How to solve challenges in science, technology, engineering and math? #AddWomen!
  2. It’s lonely at the top. A recent video from Elle Magazine in the UK, with the hashtag #MoreWomen, shows this in eye-catching fashion.
  3. The No Ceilings initiative from the Clinton Foundation showcases some of the tremendous progress being made worldwide in the area of gender equality, while admitting that we’re #NotThere yet.

 

Christmas Bonus: And here’s a special bonus hashtag, #PayGapWTF, a youth-focused response to learning that, yes, women are still paid less than men for the same work. WTF indeed!

Have we missed any? Let us know. Happy holidays from Womenable, and best wishes for a womenabling New Year.

What Do Women Entrepreneurs Need to Grow? A New Initiative Keeps Score

It’s one thing to encourage more women to start their own entrepreneurial ventures, but what are the elements that can ensure their future growth and success? And what countries are doing a good (and not so good) job of providing a “womenabling” environment for growth-oriented women entrepreneurs? These are the questions asked – and answered – in the new Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, a data-powered diagnostic tool developed by ACG Inc. with support from Dell.

The research team (of which Womenable is a member) considered the elements necessary for supporting growth-oriented, high-impact women entrepreneurs – AND what data are currently available on a regular basis – gathering and combining 21 data variables into an analytical framework comprised of five main elements:

  • Business environment;
  • Gendered access to resources;
  • Women’s leadership and legal rights;
  • A gendered entrepreneurial pipeline; and
  • Potential female entrepreneurial leaders.

DWEN_Global-Scorecard-ResultsThe resulting analysis, conducted among 31 economies that collectively account for 76% of global GDP, finds that the following countries provide the environment most conducive to supporting high-impact women’s entrepreneurship:

  1. United States
  2. Canada
  3. Australia
  4. Sweden
  5. United Kingdom

At the other end of the list are countries that are not so supportive:

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Pakistan
  3. India
  4. Egypt
  5. Tunisia

One important conclusion of the analysis is that even among highly-ranked countries there is much room for improvement, as the scores – calculated on a 0-100 scale – only reach 71 even in the top-ranked U.S.

And what can all of us do to help the cause? Several recommendations for action offered include:

  • Narrow the gender data gap by measuring progress of women entrepreneur-focused initiatives;
  • Prioritize female-owned businesses in public and private supply chains;
  • Promote and empower women in the workplace;
  • Raise the visibility of female role models in business; and
  • Build entrepreneurship skills for girls by investing in STEM education.

Learn more and download the GWEL Scorecard executive report and methodology at THIS WEB PAGE.

Business Support “On Equal Terms” in Sweden? Nära Skjuter Ingen Hare!

After eight excellent years of promoting women’s entrepreneurship in Sweden, the newly-elected government has closed programmatic support in this area (thus highlighting once again that elections do matter).
Swedish flag and people copy
In wrapping up their efforts, however, Tillväxtverket (the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth) has compiled some lessons learned reports. Here, for your enlightenment, are:

Many thanks to fellow womenabler Gunilla Thorstensson for sharing these reports with us. Unfortunately, business promotion “on equal terms” (meaning “one size fits all”) will likely not stand women entrepreneurs in Sweden in good stead going forward. As they say in Sweden, nära skjuter ingen hare!

Perhaps this will spark advocacy and action among women’s business groups there. From adversity can come increased strength and sisterhood.

Mixing Purpose With Passion: Women’s Enterprise in Scotland

Having recently returned from Scotland, I was struck by a new-found energy and optimism. Though the recent independence referendum was defeated, it brought out a renewed national spirit – which certainly carried over in the surge of support for the Scottish National Party in the recent U.K. elections.

wes-logo-colourThis energy surge is also manifest in support for women’s enterprise development in Scotland. Last year, Scotland launched a Framework and Action Plan for Women’s Enterprise, based on feedback from the women’s business community and other stakeholders and containing a series of policy and program recommendations.

What took me over to Scotland was a Think Tank gathering, #WESMovingOn, in which best practices from within and outside Scotland and the U.K. were considered and discussed. The day was kicked off with a thoughtful presentation by futurist Anne Lise Kjaer on a more inclusive view of ‘the good life’ and the drivers of change in the future, incorporating the four P’s of people, planet, purpose and profit.

Then we (“womenablers” from government, the private sector and the third sector, from the U.K., Europe and North America) all rolled up our sleeves and shared our views – from our countries and communities – of what’s working, what lessons we’ve learned, and what recommendations we’d make for Scotland moving forward. I was asked to reflect on some lessons learned from the U.S. perspective, based on the 27 years of progress (and pitfalls) since the “big bang” of women’s enterprise development in the U.S.: the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988. Here’s a brief summary of the ideas that I shared:

  1. Policy is only the starting point. For progress and sustainability attention must be paid on three key levels:
    • In the public sector level, to set such frameworks AND to establish programs based on policies;
    • On the customers/clients of women’s enterprise support: listen to them, then modify programs based on changing needs. This is something we do NOT do nearly enough of in the U.S.; and
    • On intermediary groups, such as implementing partners. This is the all too often forgotten link between policy and customer.
  2. Don’t “fence in” women business owners. By this I mean not isolate them, but don’t limit their growth by setting policy sights too low. U.S. federal support for women’s business centers is a prime example of this; they are hampered by restrictions on what clients they can serve with their federal grant money, which leaves many growth-oriented women business owners underserved;
  3. DATA, DATA, DATA: it’s critically important to measure. In the U.S. government, policy efforts are limited by restrictions on conducting research, so the Center for Women’s Business Research (now defunct) was critically important in 1990’s, as it monitored progress and showcased needs;
  4. Private sector partnerships: Enlightened corporations and financial institutions need women business owners as customers and as suppliers, so they are stakeholders, too.

We also heard from several of WES’ excellent women’s entrepreneurship ambassadors: women business owners who give back by speaking to women and girls about what it’s like to start and grow a business. One of them was Sylvia Douglas of MsMissMrs. You owe it to yourself to CLICK HERE to learn more about her enterprise … and her empowerment pants. (Here’s us posing with some during the Think Tank discussion.)empowermentpants

What’s next for women’s enterprise development in Scotland? I’d say that they will be a leader in the U.K., if not throughout Europe and beyond, for their inclusive, consultative approach, for thinking well outside the box and all along the size continuum, for being inclusive of diversity from the outset, and for bravely stepping out in front and leading the way. Keep an eye out for the report from this think tank event, and keep an eye on Women’s Enterprise Scotland … the Brave!

Women-Owned Businesses Continue to Flourish

Women-Owned Businesses Continue to Flourish

For the fifth year running, Womenable has combined forces with American Express OPEN to analyze trends in women’s enterprise growth and development. The 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses report (which will soon be published) tells us that:2015 SWOB charts.003

  • The number of women-owned firms in the U.S. continues to climb, and is now estimated to have surpassed 9.4 million enterprises – 30% of all businesses in the country;
  • The revenue generated by these enterprises is now estimated to stand at nearly $1.5 trillion, and has increased by 79% since 1997; and
  • Women-owned firms now employ over 7.9 million workers (excluding owners), providing one in seven jobs among privately-owned businesses.

In fact, since 1997 there have been an average of 608 net new women-owned firms launched each and every day – and the rate just over the past year stands at 887 per day. The number of women-owned firms is increasing at a rate 1-1/2 times the national average.

Where are we seeing these women-owned firms? The short answer – everywhere. Women-owned firms are found in every state and in every industry. The fastest growing industry sector is educational services, which has seen a 67% increase in the number of women-owned firms since 2007 versus an overall 21% increase. And the states seeing the fastest growth in women’s entrepreneurship are Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, North Dakota and New York.women_diverse 900x550

And who’s starting these enterprises? Increasingly, women of every ethnic background. Back in 1997, there were just under 1 million firms owned by non-Caucasian women, representing one in six (17%) women-owned firms. Now, there are an estimated 3.1 million minority women-owned firms, representing one in three (33%) women-owned firms. Indeed, the growth in the number of African American, Asian American, Latina, Native American/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander since 1997 surpasses the growth in the number of non-minority women-owned firms several-fold. The growing diversity of women-owned firms is one of the most remarkable trends of the past decade.

The 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, like its predecessors, contains a wealth of empowering facts, figures and insights. The full report is being formatted now, but until it’s publicly available, click on the link below to download the summary tables, containing all of the statistics at the national, state, metropolitan, industry and ethnic group level.

Cheers, fellow womenablers!

2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses: Summary Tables