It turns out that women aren’t just nurturers after all. Compelling statistics show that we’re also skillfully hunting down business opportunities, cutting through the BS and dragging home the proverbial dinner. According to the IRS, 43% of America’s wealthiest people are women, with nearly 1 million females holding more than $2 million each in gross assets. Besides building wealth, women are proving to be effective corporate leaders as well: Companies with women directors see higher return on sales (84%), higher return on investment (60%) and higher return on equity (46%).
But unfortunately, women seem to be less sure of themselves as entrepreneurs. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) reports that women aren’t starting and scaling businesses as fast as men. We own about 30% of all businesses; however 84% of these have no additional employees. Even more troubling is that women also tend to close their businesses twice as often as their male counterparts.
What’s going on here? Purse strings have a lot to do with it: Women are only accessing 5% of the available equity capital each year.5 Frankly, I think we’re not as comfortable or experienced in asking for capital from outside investors, which spotlights a key difference in entrepreneurial attitudes between the sexes.
We need entrepreneurial-minded women to step up to the funding table and stake their claim. Our economy could really use the boost. Ernst & Young has found that 6 million jobs could be added in five years if women collected the same start-up capital as men.6 We need to build on the core traits that make women natural leaders, planners, communicators and champions. Properly armed with self-confidence, a more robust network of professional support, and capital, we can scale our businesses to have the kind of transformational effect on the economy that we do in the boardroom.