The entrepreneurship blueprint continues to change in a variety of ways, shaping the business landscape as never before.
The biggest factor comes by way of an increasing number of female-owned businesses in a marketplace once dominated by their male counterparts.
Though there are a plethora of causative factors behind the immergence of women as entrepreneurs, the most obvious are grounded in breaking from corporate tradition and creating opportunities where none previously existed.
Shift of Power
Thesis papers have been published on the impacts of female empowerment, but the current business climate is the perfect indicator of progress still falling short of parity. As disconcerting as the numbers are, Catalyst.org reports less than only one-fifth of NYSE company board seats are occupied by women. Such a statistic has a pronounced trickle down effect, where female executives may be reaching ceilings and choosing to start their own ventures.
Few employment factors are greater to motivate a person to strike out on his/her own than the realization that future opportunities are limited. Add in ongoing pay scales that are disproportionate between genders, and many women have all the reasons they need to go solo.
Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post
Related Article: We Can Do It: Paving a Path for Women in STEM Fields
Changing Areas of Expertise
Another development in the female-owned/operated business plan is the growing number of highly skilled women in technology and sundry creative fields of employment. They say that art imitates life, and while current television show Mad Men paints a fairly accurate portrait of gender roles in the workplace during the 1960s, looking at shows that were actually produced in the 1960s clarifies the gap in gender disparity in the workplace. Remember the advertising behemoth, McMann & Tate on Bewitched from a generation ago? How many female executives did founding partner Larry Tate have on staff? Stop when you get to none.
Since then, women have made great strides in technology, sales, marketing and creative arts. And in just the past decade alone, women have made even greater strides in areas that were consistently dominated by men. Their collective presence is not only creating logistical advancements in the marketplace, but also serving as motivation for young up-and-comers. Tech-specific expertise has been a leading factor in women entering e-commerce oriented businesses; a trend that is sure to continue.
Cher Wang, cofounder of HTC
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Apples to Apples
One additional factor is the general woman’s sensibility being much more closely aligned to various goods and services. Who better to address female-centric offerings than a female business owner?
Consider some of the fashion and cosmetics industries’ most important female powerbrokers; the common sense associated with such a dynamic is obvious, and the current business climate is now more economically friendly for females looking to launch their own businesses than ever before. Female entrepreneurs can enter the startup arena with more financial and intellectual capital than in the past, and thusly position themselves as key players quickly and aggressively.
Despite the pronounced imbalance of power in the corporate world between genders, female business owners are making ongoing, positive strides in the field of entrepreneurship. By taking stock of their technical skills, business acumen and individual knowledge bases, women are gradually creating a new entrepreneurial classification for themselves, that of the micro-preneur : the business owner/operator who parlays her aggregate asset base into an instrument of profitability.
As consumer tastes change with time, and more entrepreneurial opportunities arise, women will continue to blaze trails as successful entrepreneurs and business owners. The near-term future of commerce will be worth watching, as will the growing impact of female-run businesses.