Lessons we can Learn from Women Entrepreneurs

May 4th, 2009

Well, I have had my eyes opened! Over the past month, we have been working on a program that features women entrepreneurs. In talking with these women from both the U.S. and Europe, I have begun to understand a number of important aspects of the value of women entrepreneurs.

Let me start with the fact that women-owned businesses are being started at twice the rate of men-owned businesses. These businesses have twice the rate of staying in business than men-owned businesses (for women of color it’s four times). When asked why they started their businesses, no woman answered, “to make money”. Instead there were a variety of reasons that can be boiled down to wanting to serve their customers with something of real value.

These women are also facing challenges that don’t make it easy. These obstacles can be best summarized as access to capital and access to markets. Women find it more difficult to secure bank financing and investment funding, even though their repayment rates exceed those of men-owned businesses. They are often not taken seriously by large corporations and not included at the table for business opportunities, notwithstanding the policies these businesses have to support women-owned businesses.

Their response to these obstacles is a sense of determination. One of our guests said, “women can make profit from thin air.” Because of fewer resources and restricted opportunities, these women have found innovative ways to offer products and services that defy conventional thinking. They talked about how the experiences of motherhood prepared them for getting more done with less.

I feel this program is one of our best and you will benefit from the wisdom that these women generously shared. We will be airing another program with women entrepreneurs in about six weeks and welcome your feedback and recommendations.

Thomas

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