Research Round-up


By Julie Weeks
original post:A Womenabling Research Round-up (October 7, 2014)

rodeo-julie-1A number of reports of interest to womenablers have been published recently. Just in case you missed ‘em, here is a round-up of what’s caught our attention recently. In alphabetical order by report title, they are:

Empowering women through public procurement, just out from the International Trade Centre, which is launching a new initiative in this area.

Force multipliers: How three fundamental adaptations can help women entrepreneurs scale big, just published by the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women initiative.

Growing Women-led Enterprises in the Mekong: Testing a Methodology for Accelerating Growth, from the World Bank Group’s infoDev practice.

Investing in the Power of Women, a review of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative by Babson College.

21st Century Barriers to Women’s Entrepreneurship, a report from the Democratic majority members of the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Voice and Agency: Empowering women and girls for shared prosperity, from the World Bank.

Women Entrepreneurs 2014: Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital, from the Diana Project researchers at Babson College, Sponsored by EY. Read a Fortune blogpost written by report co-author Dr. Candida Brush HERE.

And, of course, the 16th annual listing from Fortune of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business is out. Check out not only the complete global list, but their separate list of the Most Powerful Women of Europe, the Middle East & Africa.


Housewives and college dropouts make great entrepreneurs! (time to drop the negative stereotypes)


Recently, Terry Simmonds of the UK Small Business Directory wrote an online post that caused an understandable uproar:

This is a serious website for serious men with serious businesses, if you are just a little housewife running a little play business from home earning some pin money whilst your other half is out earning a living – please don’t register your business here.

This is a perfect example of the types of attitudes that are invisible in quantitative data yet create barriers to female entrepreneurs.

But it does highlight an important distinction. In many countries, especially developed countries, there are two tracks of female entrepreneurs: the full time, main income business and the part time additional income business.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a part time additional income business if that is what you want. The real issue is how can we curb the economic loss of women who are capable of running successful businesses with growth prospects but intentionally keep them ‘small’ and sidelined?

Is it a social norm problem?

Is it a childcare problem?

Is it an overcrowded, highly competitive sector problem?

Is it lack of  financing??  training??

All these questions deserve serious national, public policy attention and innovative solutions.

Otherwise, worldwide, economies will continue to hemorrhage their economic future….

According to the 2012 Flash Eurobarometer on Enterpreneurship which included 40 EU and non-EU countries:

Men are more likely than women to say that their main source of income is their  business (79% vs. 66%) and also that their business is their only source of income (70% vs. 57%). In both cases, that’s a 13% difference.

The 2012 OECD report ‘Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now’examined the gender pay gap for entrepreneurs (measured as self-employed) and found that even though the pay gap does not disappear, it narrows significantly when calculated on the basis of earnings per hour worked.

3 conclusions come to mind:

1) Earnings per hour worked may be a better indication of a business’s potential than whether it is a part-time or full-time business

2) The issue of part-time vs. full time female entrepreneurs should be an invitation for inquiry rather than be used for female entrepreneurship bashing

3) We need better data: Change at the public policy level starts with good quality country comparative data so that we can understand the dynamics of female entrepreneurship development.

And one closing thought ‘housewife entrepreneur’ sounds implausible, negative, almost an oxymoron but remember, nearly three decades ago, ‘college dropout’ and ‘entrepreneur’ held negative connotations and then along came Bill Gates and Steve Jobs…..

Reblogged from

The tide has shifted



The question is no longer  ‘should we’  support female entrepreneurship but ‘what are the best ways’  in which to do this?

Recently, a seminar sponsored by IFC/USAID entitled: Mapping Opportunities: Ranking or Binding brought together 3 new innovative tools: 2 indices and a diagnostic tool for assessing where the barriers lie for female entrepreneurs.

The first index presented was the Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (Gender- GEDI) created by The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute and sponsored by Dell computers. This composite index incorporates a global reach and focuses on a specific sub-segment of ‘high potential’ female entrepreneurs defined as female entrepreneurs that are ‘innovative, export-oriented and market expanding’. For  each country, the Gender-GEDI combines  individual measures (such as attitudes and characteristics of female entrepreneurs) with institutional measures (such as equal legal rights for women, business risk, women’s equal access to SME training programs) to come up with a final rank and score.  It answers the question as to which countries are the most favorable for high potential female entrepreneurship development. In its inaugural 17 country study, the USA ranked in first place followed by Australia (2nd), Germany (3rd), France (4th) and Mexico in 5th place. At the low end, Uganda ranked in 17th place, India in 16th, Egypt in 15th and Brazil in 14th. Japan was ranked in 12th place surprisingly low for a highly developed OECD country, while Russia’s rank in 10th place was surprisingly high.

The second index presented was the WEVenturescope, developed for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). This composite index was also launched this year and focuses on the Latin American and Caribbean region. It addresses female entrepreneurship in the most broadest sense assessing  both formal and informal entrepreneurs in 20 countries. Countries are ranked according to 5 categories based on 49 indicators and subindicators. The five categories used included business operating risk, entrepreneurial business environment, access to finance, capacity and skills and social services. Chile ranks in first place followed by Peru (2nd), Colombia (3rd), Mexico (4th) and Uruguay in 5th place. The lowest ranking countries included Jamaica (20th), Paraguay in 19th place and Venezuela and El Salvador tied for 17th place.  In addition to its final report, WEVenturescope provides an interactive web-based index tool that allows for category weightings to be altered to achieve different rankings and scores.

The third tool was the Women’s Entrepreneurship Diagnostic (WED) developed by Anastasia Santos at USAID. The WED is based on the Hausman, Rodrik and Velasco (HRV) decisional framework and is used at the country level to hone in on the most binding constraint to female SME entrepreneurship development. As such it helps programs target the specific issues (such as access to capital, knowledge of lending, managing loans, bias of bank lending officers, etc.)that are most relevant within an identified barrier category (such as access to finance) that are the most critical to address for the greatest impact. In the case of Liberia, the WED identified cultural norms and human capital as the two most fundamental factors underlying constrained women’s entrepreneurship in Liberia. Differing social norms around gender and marital status were found to be a barrier as well as sexual harassment especially for women engaged in cross border trade. Though neither the Gender-GEDI nor WEVenturescope contain Liberia in the countries analyzed, the WED could be a useful extension following an initial index-based analysis. Whereas an index is useful in providing country comparative analysis and identifying the main strengths and weaknesses in a given country or region, a diagnostic tool like the WED can provide a deeper level of analysis as to the underlying causes.

Though different, all three approaches allow for the possibility to benchmark progress and change over time. Thus providing a much needed increased systematic and rigorous approach to female entrepreneurship development. However, they also point out the glaring data gaps and need for  high quality representative data on female entrepreneurship.

Reblogged from