Funding gap biggest issue for female entrepreneurs

Male and female entrepreneurs around the world report extremely similar experiences and attitudes toward starting and running a business – except when it comes to raising outside capital.

According to a recent global survey of more than 3000 entrepreneurs, a significant funding gap between genders still exists, with men being twice as likely as their female counterparts to have raised at least $100,000 to fuel their business.

According to the second annual International Women’s Day Entrepreneurship Survey by online graphic design marketplace 99designs, 28 per cent of the men polled raised at least $100,000 or more to start their business, as compared to just 15 per cent of the women. These numbers show little change from the results of last year’s survey showing a gap of 12 per cent versus six per cent, respectively.

In addition to being less likely to raise significant outside funding, female entrepreneurs were more likely to be operating home-based businesses (68 per cent versus 48 per cent of men) and sole proprietorships (49 per cent of women versus 31 per cent of men) than their male counterparts. They were also more likely to say they put in a “second shift” at night – 67 per cent versus 61 per cent for men.

“Women all over the world have become more vocal over the last two years, speaking out and marching toward political, social and economic change,” said 99designs Chief Marketing and Operations Officer, Pamela Webber. “Many of these issues are present in the world of entrepreneurship, as you can see exposed through the results of our survey, which we hope paints an honest picture of where women business owners are today.

“It’s also interesting to see that – despite the gender funding gap – there is so much common ground between the sexes on the experience and attitudes toward entrepreneurship.”

More similarities than differences

Overall, however, the survey revealed that male and female entrepreneurs share more similarities than differences. Both men and women:

  • Experience the same levels of guilt about spending time with their business.
  • Cited “less time with friends” as the biggest sacrifice to being an entrepreneur – although men were more likely to cite “less time with family” than women at 46 per cent vs. 34 per cent).
  • See a “hard work ethic” followed by “confidence” as the top skills/traits needed to be a successful entrepreneur.
  • Believe “charisma,” “intelligence” and “financial acumen” to be the most overrated traits for success as an entrepreneur.
  • Named not asking for help” as the biggest mistake they’ve made.
  • Cited the same two biggest fears: “finding new customers” and “getting out of my comfort zone”.
  • Listed the same top three motivations for starting a business: “passion for or expertise in an area”; “freedom/flexible schedule”; and “l always wanted to be an entrepreneur”.


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