The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works. У вас есть вопрос? У нас есть ответ. Решая сложные задачи бизнеса, мы улучшаем мир. У вас є запитання? У нас є відповідь. Вирішуючи складні завдання бізнесу, ми змінюємо світ на краще. Meilleure la question, meilleure la réponse. Pour un monde meilleur. 問題越好。答案越好。商業世界越美好。 问题越好。答案越好。商业世界越美好。

What’s driving women to start businesses?

Today’s entrepreneurial women built success on their own terms. In the latest Business Outlook Survey from EY and the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), more than half (57 percent) of EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women and Women Presidents’ Organization members surveyed said the biggest influence on where they are today was their own drive to succeed.

The majority attributed their success to deep industry knowledge and experience (63%) and effective employee teams (61%). And they are enthusiastic about their growth prospects, with 62% reporting great optimism about their company’s financial performance compared to last year.

"The future is now for women-owned and led businesses. They are enthusiastic about opportunities as never seen before, making more money, winning more contracts and securing greater freedom and control. The possibilities are limitless."

Dr. Marsha Firestone
Women Presidents’ Organization President & Founder

Key findings:

  • Talent equals growth: Respondents said finding and retaining talent was their biggest challenge in 2016, and that culture will be the most important factor in their growth strategy for 2017.
  • Benefits: Women-led companies provide strong benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, flex time, maternity leave, and more.
  • Self-financing for growth: Respondents said they prefer debt to equity.
  • Pioneering spirit: These entrepreneurial women built success on their own terms and said the biggest influence on where they are today was their own drive to succeed.
EY infographic showing what drives women to start businesses how they get fundingEY infographic showing Talent equals growth for women entrepreneurs
EY infographic showing women led Businesses provide strong benefitsEY infographic showing women entrepreneurs prefer debt to equity

"Support for women’s entrepreneurship was tenuous 20 years ago. No one, in the way of role models or investors, was there to pave the way. That spirit informs how they think about their companies and their own success today."

Lisa Schiffman
Director, Brand, Marketing and Communications, Americas Growth Markets
EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program

The next generation of women entrepreneurs

Vision was clear in the Business Outlook Survey. Respondents ranked the most important factors in helping future women entrepreneurs grow their businesses:

  • Access to capital
  • Access to advisors
  • More active networks of women entrepreneurs
  • More mentorship programs
  • Giving more attention to successful women entrepreneurs in the media
  • Encouraging women to enter STEM industries
  • Deregulation

"The journey of a high-growth woman CEO can be lonely; when surrounded by peers that share their challenges and understand their opportunities, they are strengthened and emboldened to achieve more."

Kerrie MacPherson
Principal, Financial Services Office, Ernst & Young LLP
Executive sponsor, North America EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women

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Katie Johnston