Women have the brains and the guts to build big businesses — but they need help to break through the barriers for rapid growth and entrepreneurial success. They need access to mentors who can challenge and encourage them to think bigger. Maria Pinelli
Ernst & Young Global Vice Chair, Strategic Growth Markets
Through the experience of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program participants, we now know that with the right information, networks and guidance, promising second-stage women entrepreneurs can think big and scale up.
The program's impact on the women entrepreneurs suggests that influential people of all kinds have the power to help women entrepreneurs accelerate their companies' growth. The media, finance, industry and non-profit worlds all have roles to play in this endeavor, which could ultimately yield many new jobs and add some much-needed momentum to the economy.
- The media: Profiles of high-potential women entrepreneurs and stories about what their companies are accomplishing can not only lend visibility and credibility to these women — and thereby send business their way — but also inspire new generations of women entrepreneurs to think bigger about their companies' goals.
- The financial world: Commercial banks could become more receptive to women entrepreneurs and demonstrate a greater awareness that some women-owned businesses far outstrip the "lifestyle" category. Investors might consider scalable women-owned businesses as an alternative to traditional investments that are not currently offering attractive rates of return.
- Successful business leaders: Entrepreneurs who have already built big companies could contribute a great deal simply by offering advice and encouragement — as could corporate executives, whose insights both as managers and as target customers could prove very valuable to second-stage women entrepreneurs.
- Non-profits that serve women and small businesses: Organizations of all kinds can help to accelerate the growth of women's businesses by acting as matchmakers that connect women entrepreneurs with advisors, investors, customers and peers, helping them build key networks.
Given the millions of jobs women entrepreneurs control today and might create tomorrow, there is good reason for all of us to be imaginative in getting them what they need to enable what they do best: launch promising companies, generate economic activity in their communities and, ultimately, help economies stay competitive.
When women-led companies grow, we all win.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, "Census Bureau Reports Women-Owned Firms Numbered 7.8 Million in 2007, Generated Receipts of $1. 2 Trillion," December 7, 2010.
2 U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Business Owners—Women-Owned Firms 2007. Summary of Findings, Charts 2 and 5.