25 January 2021 | Online
Entrepreneurship continues to be heavily male-dominated. Even though women have struggled in the past decade to break the "glass ceiling" and start their ventures or increase their participation in leadership positions, data suggests that the entrepreneurial potential of women is still untapped. A group of highly motivated students coordinated by Dr Sue Rossano and PhD Candidate Iulia Stroila have created a booklet to reveal interesting insights on female entrepreneurship and leadership. Twenty extraordinary women with different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences were interviewed, resulting in a compilation of stories that help women overcome the unconscious bias and inspire the ones who might have great ideas but are still hesitant towards making the big step into entrepreneurship.
Women still own way less startup equity compared to their male counterparts, and statistics show us that women face numerous challenges. This has negative consequences for economic growth, innovative activities, and employment growth within the global economy (Greene et al., 2011). As the Center for Women's Business reported: "If U.S.-based women-owned businesses were their own country, they would have the 5th largest GDP in the world, trailing closely behind Germany, and ahead of countries including France, United Kingdom and Italy" (Welsh & Dragusin, 2009). Women's lower entrepreneurial experience and reduced propensity to risk (Fairlie & Rob, 2009), lack of training opportunities and institutional support, and lower access to social and financial capital required for the recognition and exploitation of opportunities (Alesina et al., 2013) are a few of the difficulties women face in starting a new business. Evidence that soft dimensions of the entrepreneurial ecosystem (i.e. education and training; role models and mentors; human capital and workforce; access to markets) are relatively less accessible for women has also been reported (Foss et al., 2018).
Now we are excited to launch Authentic Stories from Inspiring Women. The booklet was released on the 25th of January 2021 during an online event that had as expert guests Dr Jeanne Martens, a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, Nancy Bravo, founder of Bravo Intercultural, and Therese Schedifka, researcher and entrepreneur. After the booklet release, the participants engaged in a fruitful discussion on how to further promote the topic of female entrepreneurship and leadership.
The FH Münster University of Applied Sciences and Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre want to inspire, empower and support highly educated women in their path to self-employment and leadership. Through this initiative, we significantly contribute to the EU Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan and beyond. With the proposed collaborations and activities we aim to strengthen initiatives on women entrepreneurship and leadership.