The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) is being co-hosted by India and the United States of America in Hyderabad, India in late November. The theme for this year’s summit is Women First, Prosperity for All. As a GES 2016 alum and a social entrepreneur, I can confidently say that focusing on women and building their capacity in entrepreneurship is a very welcome move.
Women are Natural Entrepreneurs
Women are natural entrepreneurs who are constantly seeking solutions to improve their lives and those of their families. Except, we don’t usually associate the word “entrepreneur” with the efforts by women. If you look around you, there are many examples of women doing additional work to supplement the household income. They sew clothes, cook food and supply tiffin, give tuitions, run daycare and do a myriad other thing: this is entrepreneurship. Yet, these efforts are passed off as secondary and very little is done to encourage the women to think and dream big. This should change.
Believing and investing in women entrepreneurs not only fuels economic growth, but it also drives innovation to address the critical challenges communities are facing worldwide.
Women leaders in entrepreneurship, innovation and investment also hold the key to fostering prosperous and dynamic societies.
So why is entrepreneurship ideal for women?
- It gives them flexibility to structure their time. Many corporate jobs have rigid working hours but also, in this internet age, expect a person to be available 24×7. They fail to account for the fact that in many countries like India, women actually hold two jobs – one at home and the other at work. Entrepreneurship allows them to structure their jobs to the time they have available.
- Entrepreneurship requires out-of-the-box thinking and creativity which women excel at doing. Women tend to be more open-minded and empathetic, in touch with the creative aspects of life and they see value in creativity. They are also raised to be and allowed to be more emotional than men, making them more in touch with reality and humanity.
- Entrepreneurship requires multi-tasking. You are the CEO, Finance Manager, Marketing Manager and Peon all in one. A woman is used to juggling several roles and responsibilities in her daily life.
- Women take a long-term view and therefore take calculated risks. This makes the business more sustainable in the long-term. They often also work harder than their male counterparts with fewer resources.
- Women tend to be better networkers and work to include everyone. They often listen more, seek advice and appreciate alternative viewpoints in general. They are more sensitive to other people’s needs, whether that be peers, colleagues, suppliers or customers.
But there are areas where many women need help. Women may lack self-confidence and hesitate to promote themselves. They may hesitate to seek help and ask for funding.
They tend to put self before others and their families before their businesses, but we can create systems where both can be supported.
So, if you’re a woman going to GES, use the platform to hone your entrepreneurial skills to learn from others, expand your networks and open your minds to new ideas. There are several masterclasses, trainings, workshops, panel discussions and talks scheduled. Go with an open mind and heart, build your confidence and don’t be afraid to position yourself and your business.