To Be Successful Entrepreneurs, Women Need A Tailored Support Structure
Over 80% of women surveyed in a recent research study found that the traditional roles of women are barriers to entrepreneurial activity. This is just one of several barriers faced by female business owners, and these barriers could be the underlying reason why only 9% of South African women are involved in early-stage entrepreneurial activity. The research by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation explores the reasons why women who have participated in their entrepreneurial development programmes start businesses, what prevents them from starting an entrepreneurial journey, and what organisations can do to mitigate these factors.
Facing down barriers
The study unpacked both the perceived and actual barriers faced by women starting businesses. Not only did women feel the traditional societal roles of women impact negatively on entrepreneurship, they also highlighted that they faced more barriers than men. While men listed only two perceived barriers to starting a business, women listed six:
• not being taken seriously because they are female;
• low self-confidence, low self-esteem, fear of failure;
• lack of time given domestic responsibilities;
• lack of help/support from family/partner with domestic responsibilities;
• lack of relevant and effective networks; and
• gender discrimination by financial markets.
When the research investigated the actual barriers faced by business owners when starting a venture, both men and women listed time constraints and funding.