When one thinks of entrepreneurs, the group of businessmen that is changing the way of doing business around the world, one imagines talented and inspired youngsters with great leadership skills. However, this generalized image may be slightly flawed not so much as to its features but as to the gender with which it is described. In fact, not only men form part of this generation of successful entrepreneurs: women are also starting businesses and they are going about it successfully.
Latin America and the Caribbean is not exempt from this phenomenon. A report from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) compiles information to learn more and to explore the common aspects of women whose companies have experience high growth: Who are these women? How did they achieve these high levels of growth in their companies? What motivates them? What are their main challenges and ambitions? What do they need to continue growing?
The report analyzes cases from nine countries in the region and concludes offering data on the average profile of Latin American women entrepreneurs:
- They started their business driven by opportunity and not necessity.
- Are between 30 and 39 years old, live with a partner and have on average two children.
- Come from families with an entrepreneurial background.
- Currently belong to a high or medium-high socio-economic level.
- Have a college degree (bachelor’s degree or equivalent).
- Rely on their “business sense” and on their technical expertise to start a business.
- Generally start their business in traditional or mature sectors.
- Started with the idea of consolidating their businesses into medium or large enterprises within their own countries.
- Are majority owners of their companies and/or obtained funding from their relatives or friends.
- Rely on their inner circles (partners, family and friends) to reconcile the multiple roles that society expects from them.
- Want to continue growing their businesses and would be willing to do anything to bring their businesses to the next level.
- Have to deal with certain challenges in order to grow their businesses, such as lack of funding, fear of failure, and conflicts between the multiple roles that they play.
Finally, the report highlights the region’s opportunity to make way for more women to be involved in these activities that are so beneficial to society: “Seizing and capitalizing on the ambitions of women entrepreneurs must be a priority for the public and private sectors due to the impact they generate in their economies and communities. In addition, the entrepreneurial ecosystem must be strengthened by promoting better networks, exploring a greater diversity of funding sources, and promoting government policies that support women entrepreneurs with balancing their work and personal lives.”