There is no question that the number of female entrepreneurs has been rising, as with the number of women in upper level management. For example, in 2002 women held 37.2 percent of U.S. jobs in management occupations, more than double the 17.6 percent of 1972. Nearly a quarter of U.S. chief executives were women in 2005—a total of 391,000. Women have also become more entrepreneurial, owning a half interest or better in nearly 40 percent of U.S. businesses (compared with 4.6 percent of US business enterprises in 1972).
These are fantastic numbers. Great, great achievements and trending towards positive growth.
But then, there are more sobering facts to consider as well, and these came as a real shock to me.
A recent article in USA today, coupled with a quick re-read of the 3rd Annual APPC Report on Women Leaders in Communication Companies (created by Erika Falk, Ph.D., Washington Research Director,and Erin Grizard, Research Assistant, of the Annenberg Public Policy Centre of UPenn), gives a much more measured view. The percentage of women with what they deem to be 'clout' positions in media, rested in 2003 at only 3%. Also, women owned business tend to be small - about 80 percent took in less than $50,000 in 2002, and nearly 85 percent had fewer than 10 employees.
The point is not to dwell on this - or from my perspective, even to drill down and understand the reason that this is so (family commitments? different industries targeted?), but merely to say that now more than ever, let's focus on creating and building, and on helping each other succeed.
We have founded only 3 Fortune 1000 companies in the last 35 years. Let's work on seeing this number grow to at least double digits ladies!!
Along this vein...for those of you with an entrepreneurial flair that have been sitting on an idea and wondering, what if, if only...
Pick up those business plans and scrawls and musings, and bring them to our next event!!
We are currently in planning for an informal workshop series for female entrepreneurs to have the chance to pitch their concepts to a small advisory board of peer experts, with specialist skills.
The planning committee comprises a great team of women, including Nicole Tecco Reece of Tipping Point Partners, Juliette Powell, creator of The Gathering, Jocelyn Anker and Kathryn Jones (creator of synchronis.tv)
This will be a great opportunity to have your idea examined, dissected, strengthened, and also to find your own startup Advisory Board, which is definitely crucial in developing successful businesses that leverage the experience and contacts of others.
For our first event - which we are pinning for May 13th to be held at Tipping Point Partners sleek downtown offices - we are taking open submissions for entrepreneurs and experts, and will be selecting 5 entrepreneurs overall.