The number of women entrepreneurs is ever increasing. Despite this great news, they continue to be hindered by unique set of obstacles in the business world. HerBusiness takes a look at these women entrepreneurship challenges and gives possible solutions.
This is easily the biggest challenge women face. Partly because it’s one felt across the spectrum in this country. Most VCs and financial institutions do not show enough confidence in women’s business. They lend to established or proven venture leaving out the many who want to actualize their dreams.
It’s not that straightforward though. Most of the startups VCs prefer, like tech, do not attract a lot of women. So women are locked out of funding, foremost, by the niche they pick out. How is this to be solved, short of asking women to abandon their passions?
We underestimate that old mantra, “be so good they can’t ignore you.” Do come up with an awesome business plan and have a supreme team when setting up your venture. Just like expertise, nothing substitutes preparedness. Also, do take advantage of the women-friendly sources of financing. This includes women-targeted funds and microfinance institutions.
Family and Business
Mom entrepreneurs face a harder task in achieving the elusive work-life balance. They can’t slack on bringing up a child but also need to accommodate the dynamics of the business world. It’s a broad topic and, luckily, HerBusiness already equipped you to cope with being a mom entrepreneur.
The first of these is the idea of “jobs for men.” A large portion of society is still pegged back by ideals on gender roles. Of course men and women are different. The point these people miss is that these ideals were carved in a totally different world. That worked for them but it really can’t work today. Europe learnt this during the respective World Wars and, today, they are not doing so badly.
There is also the perception that women should be subservient. They should be housewives. Now, don’t get me wrong. The value of the work women do at home is immense; unfortunately it’s not captured by capitalism.
The best solution to these barriers is education. Thank goodness, Kenya is one of those societies that place a great importance on school. With school women can look inwards and reject those assumptions. This though is only half the job.
Even with education women will not be truly emancipated from the shackles of culture. They need to have role models. They need to know other women entrepreneurs who defied and succeeded. It only drives a person. Women need to have a variety of role models in diverse sectors to believe.
A new standard for defining successful women will be the outward answer to rejecting those assumptions.
The truth is that women entrepreneurs start from a lower base as business managers. In context of the complaint of not being taken seriously as an entrepreneur. Thus women need to manipulate the rules of networking.
You know that platitude that goes, ‘women should help other women’? It’s the most creative thing that can be done regarding this. They literally need to help each other. Network as women and mentor the newcomers on the ropes of being a woman entrepreneur.