New Report: Challenges and Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs

New Report: Challenges and Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs

Gender remains one of the most fundamental sources of inequality and exclusion. Although there are trends towards a more inclusive economy and society, progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment is still slow.

Driven by the aspiration to accelerate this process and achieve real change the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications launched F-LANE, the first international start-up accelerator which focuses on supporting early-stage social enterprises using digital solutions and technology to empower girls and women. Since 2016 F-LANE has supported more than 30 female-focused businesses from all over the world. There is no other corporate accelerator which combines the unique aspects of impact, tech and female.

As part of F-LANE 2020, F-LANE fellow Felicia Siegrist, conducted interviews with the participating social entrepreneurs and F-LANE alumni as well as experts on female entrepreneurship and gender lens investing to better understand the challenges and hurdles women entrepreneurs face when starting a business and to access promising trends for women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. She completed these insights with existing research and statistics. Her report “Women entrepreneurs as a catalyst for sustainable growth – challenges and opportunities” shows that there is still a huge gender gap in entrepreneurship. Especially in tech women have to fight against unconscious biases and gender stereotypes.

The report identifies and discusses the following key challenges and opportunities:

Major challenges of women entrepreneurs:

  • Limited access to funding
  • Lack of an adequate support network
  • Perceived lack of entrepreneurial and tech skills
  • Socio-cultural barriers
  • Covid-19

Pathways to change:

  • Digital technologies
  • Impact Accelerators
  • Gender lens investing

Including women in entrepreneurship and in the workforce matters for the bottom-line because women are the current and future engines of economic growth. More than that, achieving gender equality constitutes a fundamental human right, essential to achieving sustainable development and peaceful societies in the longterm. Gender equality is not just a women’s issue but should also concern and engage men. Only together we can build a build a more inclusive system where everybody can thrive.

Read the full paper here.

(Photo: iStock/Wavebreakmedia)