Overcoming the Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs: Solutions and Strategies

We have asked 170 women entrepreneurs about the challenges they face in the entrepreneurial world. 

Here is what #SheSaid:

''We were never taught how to build a business. We were only taught to play it safe,'' she said.

''Women have to work 3 times as hard to prove themselves worthy of being taken seriously,'' she said.

''Social norms expect women to only find a job, not start their own,'' she said.

''Women are expected to prioritise being a mom over their career dreams,'' she said.

''Some fields are claimed to be "male-oriented". Are women only good to start make-up brands?'' she said.

''We are perceived as weak, as if we can't handle tough choices without going emotional,'' she said.

''We don't see many women in leadership positions! Women are not well integrated in the business world,'' she said.

''If a woman is driving and had an accident, she will be blamed for being a woman, same for a business!'' she said.

''Women themselves can put down their ideas and value. We should start with building up our self-perception first,'' she said.

''We’ve limited access to resources despite our critical socioeconomic contributions,'' she said.

These challenges can be categorised into six main pillars.

1. Lack of Business Education:
Women reported not receiving adequate education on how to start and grow a business. They felt that they were only taught to play it safe, which limits their ability to take risks and innovate.

To address this challenge, education and training programmes should be developed and provided to women entrepreneurs. This can help women gain the knowledge and skills needed to start and grow their businesses.

2. Gender Bias:
Women reported having to work three times as hard as men to prove themselves worthy of being taken seriously in the business world. They also reported being perceived as weak and emotional, which hinders their ability to make tough decisions and be taken seriously as leaders.

To address gender bias, companies should implement policies that promote diversity and inclusion. This can include gender-neutral recruitment processes, equal pay for equal work, and unconscious bias training for employees.

3. Social Norms:
Women reported that social norms expect them to find a job rather than start their own business. They also reported that they are expected to prioritise being a mother over their career dreams.

To address this challenge, societal attitudes towards women in entrepreneurship need to change. There should be more encouragement and support for women to pursue their career dreams, and policies that allow women to balance their work and family responsibilities.

4. Limited Access to Resources:
Women reported limited access to resources despite their critical socioeconomic contributions. This can include access to funding, mentorship, networks, and business support services.

To address this challenge, more funding opportunities should be made available for women entrepreneurs. In addition, mentorship programmes, networking events, and business support services tailored to the needs of women entrepreneurs should be established.

5. Male-Oriented Fields:
Women reported that some fields are claimed to be "male-oriented," which can limit their opportunities to start businesses in those fields.

To address this challenge, there should be more efforts to promote gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated fields. This can include mentorship programmes, networking events, and targeted outreach campaigns to encourage women to pursue opportunities in those fields.

6. Self-Perception:
Women reported that they can put down their own ideas and value. They feel that they need to work on building their self-perception and self-confidence.

To address this challenge, more efforts should be made to support women's self-perception and self-confidence. This can include mentorship programmes, leadership development training, and networking events that promote self-confidence and self-worth.

In conclusion, the challenges that women face in entrepreneurship are complex and require a systemic change rather than just individual efforts. By addressing the six main pillars identified, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women entrepreneurs. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about what we are doing to address these challenges and to learn about different ways to support women in entrepreneurship.
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