Ask the average person to name a famous entrepreneur they will often mention Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson. Ask them to name a WOMAN entrepreneur; a few might mention Oprah. Here in Canada some might point out Arlene Dickinson or Manjit Minhas (from Dragon’s Den).
Yet the 2019 Women’s Report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor estimated women’s entrepreneurial activity rate is at 2/3 that of men, with over 252 million women were engaged in entrepreneurship.
Too often the entrepreneurship narrative focuses on white, male, and tech-driven ventures. The very mention of entrepreneurship invokes dreams of big profits, growth, and buyouts. Images that are so remote from reality!
In the little town where I live, close to 80% of main street businesses are women-led. Many are solopreneurs, few have more than 2-3 employees. These are the cafés and shops that make our rural areas livable and vibrant. If this pandemic has shown us anything it’s that big business is essential in many parts of our lives, it’s often the small, independently owned shops that we miss the most.
#1 – Notice and support: Who are the women business owners in your area? Point them out, if only to show your daughter or niece there are role models out there.
#2 – If you sell to women business owners: Be conscious of the terms you use, as they might not relate to the term “entrepreneur.” Many put their profession upfront (“I’m a massage therapist”) or identify as “self-employed.” To be safe, refer to them as “business owners.”
#3 – Let’s make business terminology more relatable: Forego combative or manipulative language. We don’t need to “KILL the competition” or “funnel the prospect to the tripwire offer.” Instead, let’s engage customers and win their loyalty.
Entrepreneurship is hard enough and the pandemic has hurt too many small business owners. Making this space more inclusive will help us rebuild more sustainably from hereon.
Please share your experiences and thoughts below. Let’s learn from one another and celebrate each other’s successes.
Thanks for reading!