Yet, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women make up only 31% of entrepreneurs worldwide. The reasons for this include, but are not limited to:
Lack of funding: In the UK alone, women launch businesses with 53% less capital on average than men. In Europe, only 2% of venture capitalist funding goes to all-female led businesses, compared to 93% for all-male funding teams. And in many developing countries, lack of financial inclusion means that 1 billion women worldwide do not have access to a bank account and therefore are not eligible for business loans, making them reliant on personal savings, family and spousal funds to start a business.
Legal barriers: Many countries around the world still have legal restrictions that prevent women from owning assets or accessing financial systems. An alarming 40% of countries worldwide have restrictions in place when it comes to female ownership of property.
Gender stereotypes and sexist attitudes: Around the world, women are still faced with restrictive and sexist gender roles that diminish their potential and ambitions, exclude them from education and the labour market, and limit their opportunities.
The entrepreneurial gender gap resulting from these inequalities creates a loss of $1.5 trillion for the global GDP, estimates suggest. This Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we call on investors, governments and societies to #ChooseWomen and commit to supporting and investing in women entrepreneurs.
Purity Gakuo, Founder of Kuza Freezer, Kenya
Purity’s business Kuza Freezer manufactures and distributes solar-powered freezers to small-scale fishermen in Kenya. This enables the fishermen to significantly reduce their post-harvest loss and increase their income. The freezers are offered on a pay-as-you-go model, which is affordable and sustainable for the fishermen, who have been locked out of this cold-storage solution for too long.
So far, Kuza Freezer has reached and improved the livelihoods of over 250 small-scale fishermen in Kenya. They have also created job opportunities for over 50 women who have started new fish businesses as a result of using their products.
Purity is supported by our member in Kenya, Somo, and is the winner of our Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2022 as well as the Business for Good Award.
Adriana Alegre Génez, Founder of Asociación Brotes de Mbaracayú, Paraguay
21-year-old Adriana’s business Asociación Brotes de Mbaracayú, is a collective of 14 women working to increase awareness on sustainability, unemployment and exploitative practises in Villarica, Paraguay.
Through the implementation of projects and programmes that promote the efficient use of natural resources, education on the green economy, and training, Adriana fosters the development of rural and semi-urban cities and creates a variety of initiatives to enhance fair trade and generate green jobs.
Adriana is supported by our member Fundación Paraguaya and is the winner of our Green Business of the Year Award 2022.
Sayaka Kankolongo Watanabe, Founder of WELgee, Japan
WELgee is a non-profit organisation that builds the future together with young refugees. Through its career programme, JobCopass, WELgee works with companies to connect refugees to employment opportunities that will enable them to obtain a stable legal status – rather than being stuck in the existing framework of refugee status, where only the government has the right to make decisions.
So far, their projects have resulted in 19 hires, two interns and five cases of change in residency status at an IT venture company and a new business development division of a major machinery manufacturer.
Sayaka is supported by our member in Japan, ETIC., and was a finalist for our Business for Good Award 2022.
Jessika Sillanpää, Founder of Jessikasstory, Sweden
Around 160,000 children a year have a parent convicted of a crime where the children are left without support. Jessika was one of them in 2012, when her father went to prison for the attempted murder of her mother. The lack of support and knowledge from society, authorities and a lack of national guidelines for relatives of those convicted of a crime left her with thoughts of suicide, criminality, loans and drugs.
Today she is a consultant, lecturer and certified grief counsellor and helps others in similar situations. Her mission is to change the conditions for support, both now and in the long-term in Sweden, but also globally through Jessikasstory.
She’s helped many people break free from their own emotional prison through lecturing, coaching, consultation and media participation.
Jessika is supported by our member in Sweden, NyföretagarCentrum, and was a finalist for our Business for Good Award 2022.