There is Some Good News on Women Entrepreneurship

March 17, 2015

Women are starting more and more businesses and, according to some research, those businesses outperform ones led by men. More girls are in college and earning business degrees than ever before. And for every woman who closes a business, more than three start one.

Unfortunately that news isn’t good enough.

Research has also shown that there are still major barriers to women in the entrepreneurship. One study found that investors hearing the same fake pitches from women and men, preferred the ones from men. Corporate leadership – at the board and CEO level – is deeply unbalanced. It just came out that there are more corporate CEOs named John than there are women CEOs among the top 1,500 US companies.

And we also see over and over again that one of the largest obstacles to getting young women on an entrepreneurship path is confidence and perceived ability. Not actual ability. But the confidence girls have in their own abilities. “In the US and Developed Europe women are 18% less likely to perceive they have the capability to start a business,” the report found.

That’s why it’s so essential that, as part of a comprehensive effort to teach entrepreneurship, we not only tell young women that they can succeed – but that they have opportunities to prove to themselves that they can. And we need to keep raising the positive voices of women who have succeeded in business to reinforce that success is possible.

As the country’s leader in teaching entrepreneurship to young people, it’s an effort we undertake daily.

With funding from MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, my organization is continuing to create and sustain entrepreneurship and innovation opportunities for girls. And we’re making progress.

Last year, 52% of the students in our programs were girls. We run girls-only summer entrepreneurship programs and tech camps. This year, our national youth entrepreneurship challenge winner was Lily DeBell – an 8th grader from Baltimore. And later this month (March 25), we will be proud to host one of the best known, self-made women entrepreneurs in America – Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx – as the keynote speaker at our annual Global Showcase.

I believe, with continued attention and investment, we will close the gender entrepreneurship gap for good. By that, I mean, close it forever and that doing it will be a great thing.



Shawn K. Osborne
President and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

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